Just last week, hundreds of Apple fans across the world waited with bated breath for the release of the iPhone 6. This love for iPhones, however, seems to have skipped Pakistan. Although there are no official statistics for iPhone sales in Pakistan, a recent report published in Forbes revealed that the country sold far more Windows Phones than iPhones. The following are some of the reasons why the iPhone does not do great business in Pakistan:
1. No official support
There is surprisingly no official push from Apple to sell the iPhone or their other products in Pakistan. Without an official backbone, it becomes tough for local sellers to provide warranty or repair services for the iPhone.
2. No warranty, no return
A majority of shops sell the iPhone with a no-return policy. This is because of the lack of a warranty with the sale of the phone. Although normally things go well afterwards if you have examined the phone well enough before buying, there are rare cases where one can be unlucky and end up paying Rs60,000 or more in repairs.
3. Too pricey for Pakistan
The iPhone 5s ranges from Rs68,000 to Rs90,000 depending on the amount of storage space you are willing to settle for. All the latest and new iPhone models, more or less, cost around Rs 50,000. In a country where most subscribers are looking to buy the cheapest phones, this is a huge price tag.
4. Fierce and proactive competitors
Fan boys who rush to the defence of their smart phone brand of choice on social media and blogs, become one of the greatest marketing tools for any brand. We often see HTC, Samsung, and Q Mobile partner with local Pakistani mobile networks and bloggers to launch their new products. However, any such initiative by Apple is yet to be seen.
5. ’It’s better to wait' phenomena
Many users who are looking to buy the iPhone decide to wait for the new model if it’s only a few months away. These users then become interested in other phone models that are being released in the market every day.
6. No memory card expansion
The smartphone generation has a habit of storing a multitude of videos, songs and other data on their phones. The difference between the prices of iPhone models based on storage is huge. For example, iPhone 5s 16GB costs around Rs 65,000 and the same model with 64GB storage space costs about Rs 90,000.
7. Fake replicas are flooding the market
It may not be that easy to pass off a fake replica of an iPhone as a real one because the inferior quality would be glaringly obvious. However, the problem lies in identifying whether any single part of the iPhone is fake. Our mobile phone vendors are notorious for repairing or replacing one component of the phone, such as the camera or the screen, and selling it as brand new.
8. Resale value
Most phone brands, particularly including the iPhone, have a resale value that fluctuates greatly in a short time span. A new phone bought two days prior, can now be sold back to any vendor for Rs 15,000 less than the original price.
Note: Prices quoted in the article have been taken from mobilephones.pk and may vary according to markets.
Ahmad Raza is an MBA graduate from the University of Wales and a digital media enthusiast. He tweets @ThisizSparta
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, September 21st, 2014.
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