Nearly 1 out of 2 Indians haven't heard about Apple

Apple has one of the strongest brands in the world, but there are still countries where the glowing Apple is not quite ubiquitous yet.

India is one of them. Nearly half of Indians are unaware of the iPhone, according to a research note by Morgan Stanley’s Kate Huberty and team. From the report:

Most surprisingly, Apple’s brand awareness is very low in India, and expanding distribution and increasing marketing could be key catalysts. The company is still in the early stages of building its brand in the country. Almost half of respondents do not know Apple.

In fact, Apple’s brand awareness in the world’s second most populous country is worse than nine other consumer electronics brands. It’s not only behind Samsung, Microsoft, and Sony, but also local brands like Micromax and Karbonn.

Here’s the chart:

This chart actually is a good thing for Apple, because it suggests that if the company were to start marketing and distributing heavily, there’s a lot of room for growth. And CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives have suggested recently that they think India is their next big growth market.

On Friday, Apple won a permit from the Indian government to open an Apple Store in the company, Times of India reported. It recently introduced an iPhone leasing plan for wealthy corporate customers. And Apple’s most recent device, the iPhone SE, can be seen as a lower-cost olive branch to the Indian market.

(Apple’s other main tactic in the country is to sell refurbished used phones for low prices, which Morgan Stanley thinks is a winning strategy.)

The massive Chinese market has been Apple’s engine of growth for the past few years, but as that country gets saturated with smartphones and Apple’s relationship with the government cools, it needs to find a new huge market to sell iPhones too. India could be that market — but first Apple needs to let Indians know about its products.

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