Apple’s online shop is set for operations only before the holiday shopping season in Dussehra-Diwali. Apple is now expected to launch a second brick-and-mortar store in Bangalore after a Mumbai branch, which will be the first physical location in India.
Apple Inc. is expected to launch an online store for the first time next month in India’s fast-growing smartphone market, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, taking advantage of a relaxing of once-strict prohibitions on international direct shopping.
According to the person who requested not to be identified addressing classified plans, the online store will be ready for operations only before the festive Dussehra-Diwali shopping season. The iPhone manufacturer, who for years lobbied New Delhi to get around rules that would require businesses like Apple to import 30 percent of components locally, had originally intended to launch online purchases within months after the government modified the law last year. The coronavirus pandemic was undermining those plans.
India’s 1.3 billion population reflects a huge, under-served mobile audience that is becoming a rising target for Apple, even as this year’s pandemic raged. The iPhone manufacturer, which has just made history by surpassing the market cap of $2 trillion, is raising investment in the South Asian nation to reduce its reliance on China both as a consumer and manufacturing base despite rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The Cupertino, California-based company also plans to open a second brick-and-mortar store in Bangalore’s technology center, following a Mumbai shop which will be its first physical location in the world, according to people with knowledge of the subject.
The first physical store of the iPhone maker will open next year in BKC ‘s luxurious Mumbai area, although it’s already scouted almost half a million square feet of space right in the heart of Bangalore near Minsk Square, named after its sister city in Belarus, the people said. Apple was not reacting to an email requesting comment on its revived Indian retail push.
Apple currently sells its products in India through franchise-run outlets and through online channels like Amazon.com Inc. and Flipkart Online Retails Services Pvt, operated by Walmart Inc. Selling through its own shops and through its website could help the business market awareness and gain customer loyalty while matching the field with rivals including China’s OnePlus and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co.
In addition to expanding its retail footprint in India, through its manufacturing partners Foxconn Technology Group and Wistron Corp., the Cupertino, California-based smartphone maker has manufactured its newest handsets, iPhone SE and iPhone 11, in the country. Pegatron Corp., another assembly partner, will build the first plant in India.
According to analyst IDC, Apple led India’s luxury smartphone segment with a market share of 49 percent in the second quarter. Together, the newer iPhone 11 and the iPhone XR accounted for 28 percent of high-end shipments, suggesting an increasing market for pricier iPhones, a comparison to a few years earlier when cheaper and older versions accounted for a significant chunk of iPhone revenue.