Thursday, October 23, 2014

EMIs to the rescue of Retailers

I have been receiving emailers from Bajaj Finance, one of the largest consumer finance companies in the country for a long time now, ever since I bought a couple of stuff using their services 5 years back. I still haven't unsubscribed to their mails, hoping that I get to gain a lot of insights into Consumer Behavior day in and day out. The one that I received today was a bit surprising... Even as I just finished my daily quota of early morning news releases, Bajaj Finance sends me an email that the newly launched iPhone6 can be bought using their services through EMIs, while Apple had announced earlier in the day that they have advised Retailers to discontinue the EMI Schemes specifically for the newly launched models due to overwhelming response and low stock quantity. Wonder where the communication channels failed between Apple, the Retailer and the Financing Company, clearly that there was an overlap of information to consumers which is misleading. Leading Retail chains such as Univercell, The Mobile store, EZone and a whole lot of smaller local resellers have been offering EMIs on the newly launched iPhone6 and 6 Plus.



Apple has been struggling in India, not because of a slowing market. Its quite the opposite. More and more people are embracing the Apple Ecosystem and this trend is clearly visible every time there is a new launch. For a country of over 1.2 billion with 300 million youth population, assuming a 0.1% population that would aspire to buy a new iPhone, Apple Inc has dispatched just 55,000 units of the newly launched model. This is quite amusing. Apple Sales have been scaling higher and higher in India over the last 2-3 years, yet the US Headquarters hasn't been giving the subsidiary and the market its due. In fact, it was the news recently that Apple India had to almost fight with HQ to advance the sales of the newly launched models ahead of Diwali to cash in on Festive sales. That the Sales would have been the same otherwise too, is another matter.

So why has Apple advised Retailers not to offer EMIs on the newly launched models? According to trade partners, the reason is three fold. To begin with, the company wants to create an atmosphere of desirability - EMI is the easiest way for youngsters to posess the product and Apple wants to keep it away from this lot of consumers. By not offering the EMI, only those who can really afford would end up buying the new models and it would command a premium in the market for a much longer time. Second, Apple and the Retailer would have to bear the interest costs partially since the EMI would be offered interest free to the consumer and it wants to minimise this cost at the moment. Third, Apple wants to clear the past inventory in the market; Models such as the iPhone 4 and 4S which were released over 3-4 years ago are still available to buy in the market and since there is no bigger market opportunity than India, Apple perhaps wants to clear the last lot of models asap.

So, if you are looking for a great deal on an older model of iPhone, now is the time. Rush to your nearest Retailer and negotiate a good deal, which I am sure they would be happy to offer. After all, an Apple product has a wonderful ecosystem and the older models too have a great experience to offer.

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