Apple's newest iPhone models, the 5S and the 5C, became available in Russian store shelves on Friday, Oct 25. However, Bloomberg notes that because of its high price tag, there is slim chance that it would be a hit among Russian consumers.
File of Apple iPhone 5C phones are pictured at the Apple retail store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York. October 16, 2013.
Russia is a weak market for the Cupertino-based tech giant with Apple share of the country's smartphone market only at 8 per cent since the iPhone was introduced. Apple has slim chances of getting the larger slice of the smartphone market currently dominated by main rival, South Korean tech firm Samsung, which enjoys more than 50 per cent market share.
The difference is obvious - Apple iPhones are too pricey for the 143 million Russians, while Samsung devices that run on Google's Android OS are more affordable.
Even the 5C, supposed to be the cheaper model but was also rejected by the 1 billion plus Chinese market in favour of local Xiaomi smartphones, is beyond the reach of the ordinary Russians who will obviously say Nyet (No) to the device that has a price tag of $800. That's the average monthly income of the ordinary Russian.
Simon Baker, IDC analyst in Moscow, said, quoted by Bloomberg, "If Apple really wants to compete with Samsung, it should've come up with a much lower price for the 5C ... It's really a matter of what Apple wants: to have a really global product and retain market share as the smartphone market moves toward cheaper price brackets, or to focus on making the maximum profit."
To worsen for Apple the competition for a larger slice of the smartphone market in Russia, the government does not allow wireless carriers to subsidise gadgets sold with longer contracts and larger monthly bills unlike in the U.S.
YouTube/CNN BBC FOX News Videos
And for those who can afford an iPhone, they prefer the 5S over the 5C which the former is outselling 10 to 1, according to Lyudmila Semushina, spokesperson for the retailer Re:Store, a Russian store chain that focuses on Apple products.
The same story is expected to be repeated with the iPhone 5S and 5C becomes available in Indian retailers on Nov 1. With majority of Indians in the lower-income bracket, the 5C will likely be snubbed because of its high price tag.
The Malaysian Digest explained the growing dislike for the 5C to the device having a high price tag but looks cheap with its plastic coloured cases that it doesn't make anyone jealous or envious of others who own a 5C.
YouTube/Pro Gadget Review
Apple CEO Tim Cook's quote by Bloomberg Businessweek summed up the Cupertino-based firm's attitude, which is being reflected in its unimpressive share in many markets outside the US. "We never had an objective to sell a low-cost phone ... Our primary objective is to sell a great phone and provide a great experience and we figured out a way to do it at a lower cost."
However, in many markets, that lower cost spells out the difference between having 3 meals a day for ordinary wage earners versus owning a candy-coloured smartphone with an apple logo on it.