Saturday, April 30, 2011

A lukewarm response to iPad2 in India

In stark response to the first iPad launch in India the launch of the iPad2 has been a success by local standards, but a very poor response when compared to the response the iPad is used to other global markets. Compared to the reception the iPad1 got in India, iPad2 has got a very good response, but on an absolute level the response can at best be described at lukewarm. This how I felt after the retail check on the iPad2.

Compared to countries like USA, Japan, China etc there were absolutely no queues in front of stores selling the iPad. There was no mad rush at all. I had planned to do a retail check on how the iPad2 is faring. Based on my various discussions with the salespeople in stores I came across the following
  • The iPad2 was launched on 29-Apr-11 and stores have got a quota of 20, 40 or 120 iPad2
  • The 16 GB WiFi + 3G is appearing to be the most popular choice among customers
  • The next popular choice is the 16 GB WiFi
  • Contrary to the claims by Apple(India) on Facebook, iPad2 is not yet sold out. I am not sure why media reports on stock outs have to be published and try to create a buzz when there is not.
  • I visited a Ezone store in Bangalore on 30-Apr-11 at around 1:00 pm. As per multiple salesperson out there 14 iPad2 were sold on 29-Apr-11. Currently they still have stocks available. As per the assessment of the salesperson they believe that stock should last till at least Sunday evening if not Monday
  • There are two demo pieces available in stores. One is a white iPad2 and the other is a black iPad2
  • What was very interesting that in one of the shops I spent an hour playing with one of the demo pieces and inquiring about the product. While the staff was somewhat knowledgeable but very courteous, I noticed the second demo piece was lying and no other customer came for at least an hour either to look at the iPad2. This struck me as the real response and interest in the iPad2. 
  • What was another very strange thing happening at the multi-brand stores, that iPad1 instead of the iPad2 was being pushed. In of the stores one salesperson was agressivley pushing the iPad1 (16 GB WiFI + 3G for 23,000 open to hard bargaining). The salesperson pushing the iPad1 was saying that there was no point in buying the iPad2 as there is no significant difference between the two products. The iPad2 salesperson was on the other pushing the iPad2 saying that they have few pieces left and that one needs to make a quick choice or the products will go. 
On the balance
  • Response to the iPad2 is better than the iPad1. However, the response is poor compared to global standard.
  • The news around stock outs is a partial truth. Stock is still available. Seems that Apple(India) and its PR mechanism supported by the traditional media is spreading half truths to make us believe that iPad2 has been super successful in India.
  • The interest or the awareness about the iPad2 in the store is nearly non-existent. No crowds around the demo units are seen. There is hardly any POS material supporting the iPad2
  • iPad1 is being pushed ( available at deep discounts subject to hard bargaining) against the iPad2 in an attempt to clear old stocks. Those on a budget could consider this option
While this is not a product review, I felt that the iPad2 is a good toy to have (if you can afford it) though the Indian market is not fully mature to adopt it.  Maybe iPad3 would do even better in India as compared to the iPad2

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