Competition has a significant influence on the development of marketing strategies. Scholars distinguish four main types of competitors: brand, generic, product, and total budget (Ferrell & Hartline, 2014). Brand competition is arguably the most important of all, and it deals with the companies making similar products sold at comparable prices (Ferrell & Hartline, 2014). Product competition relates to the items in the same product category that have different features or pricing policies (Ferrell & Hartline, 2014). Generic competitors produce goods that do not have much in common but serve the same purpose (Ferrell & Hartline, 2014). Total budget competition deals with the limits of customer purchasing power (Ferrell & Hartline, 2014). This paper aims to analyze Apple’s competition and define the marketing strategies implemented by the company to handle it.
Apple produces both hardware and software products; hence, it is essential to define its brand competitors for different markets. Phones, tablets, and laptops are among their most popular products. Some of their brand competitors are Samsung, Huawei, HP, and Dell. Apple is also famous for its operating systems for phones and computers, with Microsoft and Google being the leading competitors. Finally, Apple competes with Netflix, Disney, and other companies in the streaming services category. The following paragraphs will address only the competition in the home electronics sphere.
Since Apple is well-represented in most product categories in consumer electronics, it might be more difficult to establish product competitors. Arguably, desktop computers represent serious competition to MacBooks, and Apple’s desktops have not been as successful as their laptops. Another example of product competition in consumer electronics would be a gaming console. Unlike Sony or Microsoft, Apple does not produce those, and since their laptops are suitable for gaming, consoles can be considered a competing product.
Apple’s electronics can be used for education, work, and entertainment. Therefore, the range of generic competitors is relatively wide. It might include books, private lessons, concerts, sports events, and different types of professional equipment. The variety of total budget competitors is even more extensive. People can spend similar amounts of money on furniture, a short vacation, a pet, or use it to pay their debts.
A meticulous approach to marketing is a key factor in Apple’s success as a brand. Their products are renowned for their minimalist design, ease of use, and innovative technologies (Ferrell & Hartline, 2014). Apple positions itself as a company that makes products for creative people (Ferrell & Hartline, 2014). Steve Jobs and his team have effectively fine-tuned the marketing processes to ensure that the philosophy of the company is represented in everything it does. For example, Apple commercials are simple, creative, and easy to recognize (Ferrell & Hartline, 2014). Ferrell and Hartline add that “the capstone of Apple’s strategy is its retail stores that have become a role model for its competitors” (p. 327). They have been praised for their distinctive design features, customer service, and innovative solutions.
Pricing policies are yet another factor that makes Apple different from its competitors. While Apple’s electronics are generally more expensive than similar phones or laptops, their marketing team uses it to their advantage (Ferrell & Hartline, 2014). In mass culture, Apple is associated with prestige and outstanding quality control. Therefore, people are often willing to pay more for its products than for similar devices made by Samsung, Dell, or Lenovo.
Overall, Apple has successfully managed to distinguish itself from the brand competitors by focusing on the specific target audience and developing a philosophy that appeals to it. Their products, stores, and advertisements serve the same purpose of creating a unique, easily recognizable brand that caters to creative people’s needs. Moreover, Apple’s pricing policy underlines its position as a leading company in the consumer electronics industry, making its products the objects of desire.
Ferrell, O. C., & Hartline, M. D. (2014). Marketing strategy: Text and cases (6th ed.). Cengage Learning.