It has nearly been a decade now since the launch of the very first Apple iPhone. Despite the number of years which have passed and Apple having gained a faithful following, there is yet to be an official Apple store in Pakistan to cater to millions of brand loyalist.
Even as Apple announced that it will start making iPhones officially in India now, the neighboring country has yet to see a company-owned store of its own. This comes at a time when Apple has less than 2% of the share in India’s mobile phone market. Samsung is dominating in the region, which really pushes the need of Apple having a stronger presence to put up a tougher fight.
When it comes to premium phones in Pakistan, the demand is growing faster than ever before. Brands are not staying behind in the fight as over 50% of 200-plus million people are now using smartphones. Motorola has also now officially been launched in Pakistan through Lenovo and the price of their first mobile isn’t cheap either.
Apple and LG on the Same Boat
Apple is not the only one without an official presence. A major player, namely LG, is still out of the race too. All of the iPhones and LG mobile phones which come into the country are through retailers importing the devices on their own will. This results in the end product being of a much higher price than seen in countries where an official launch happens. Despite Apple producing iPhones in neighboring China and maybe now India as well, not having a presence in Pakistan will only further undermine the demand.
iPhone users in Pakistan consist of over 20% of the total population of smartphone users. Not benefitting from officially launching and providing after-sales services and accessories is only a loss to Apple as a brand in total. Future Tech and a couple of other names are labelled as official retailers, but they have also failed in providing competitive pricing to attract buyers. Apple iPhones are cheaper bought through other sources than through these official and authorized retailers.
Touch Disease, Battery Drain and Price Difference
We understand that Apple has officially launched through various
companies and authorized resellers in the country. Unfortunately, these channels are probably the last to launch an iPhone and the least preferred method of purchasing an Apple iPhone. One, they launch the latest iPhone probably months after it is already available in the market and when it is on sale with a local warranty, the price is again, higher than the other self-importing retailers.
Not to mention how difficult it is to get in touch with these retailers for aftersales service. A recent example was what happened with disclosure of the iPhone 6 Plus’ ‘touch disease’ and iPhone 6S battery drain issue. There are no service centers in Pakistan who are capable of dealing with such matters and frustrates Apple loyalists.
Let’s just hope that Apple understands what we’re trying to say here and see a more friendlier approach towards the Pakistani mobile phone market.