Apple To Open 500 Stores In India. No More a Dumping Ground!
Apple has historically not bothered too much with India – Their iPhone and iPad launches in India have generally happened months or even a year after the actual launch in US. Many people believed India was the “dumping ground” for Apple. And, it was probably true to a certain extent.
In defense of Apple, they never saw the kind of numbers from India that would really encourage them to give India some priority.
But the fast changing smartphone market scenario in India seems to have changed Apple’s outlook of India. Apple is planning on huge push for their devices now in India– they are planning to open 500 iOS stores across length and breadth of India. And the stores are going to come up not only in big cities, but in smaller cities and towns as well. Currently Apple stores are located only in big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai.
Apple operates in India through 2 distributors – Redington India and Ingram, who supply it to Apple premium re-seller stores and Apple authorized outlets. Redington does majority of Apple’s business and accounts for nearly 70 percent of their sales in India.
According to ET report who have quoted company sources, the primary reason for this expansion is to focus on smaller towns. They said, “We are amazed at the purchasing power in smaller towns. The primary objective is to give a better and proper experience with adequate product demonstration”
Exclusive Apple stores are generally large and very well done – they are over 200 Sq. ft. in size. However, in the new expansion plan that has been “tentatively approved”, the stores coming up in smaller towns and cities will be smaller in size (from 300 to 600 sq ft).
Why this push now?
Apple is undoubtedly one of the most coveted smartphone brand in the world. However, in other developed markets, they are more or less saturated. While Apple fan boys keep picking up their favorite Apple devices in each iteration, very few new people are switching to Apple. Their competing mobile OS, Android has evolved to a point where they are at par or even better than iOS.
What Apple really needs is new users for their future iPhones and iPads – and what better place to tap other than India, whether smartphone market is growing fastest in Asia-Pacific and probably in the world.
Apple needs new users, and India has millions of them!
What needs to be seen is whether how successful Apple becomes in Indian towns and cities. After all, their devices never come cheap!