Apple finally has a physical store in India. In the bustling area of Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, Apple BKC (short for Bandra Kurla Complex) opened to a queue of over 200 Apple fans who flocked from different parts of the country to catch a glimpse of the flagship store. had come , Apple CEO Tim Cook opened the store’s doors and greeted customers as they entered with Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail.
With the first retail store in India, Apple is betting big on the company’s growth in the coming years in the country, which has emerged as a top alternative to China. Apple has completed 25 years of its operations in India, but the company got excited about iPhone sales in the country only a few years ago. Thanks to rising demand for iPhones, Apple consistently saw double-digit sales growth. According to Counterpoint Research, it will ship around 6.5 million iPhone units in India in 2022. That’s not even half of the iPhone units sold in the US and China in a year, but Apple sees it as an opportunity to expand its reach in one of the world’s most dynamic smartphone markets.
Doing so included direct sales in India – something Apple could not initiate due to the country’s strict laws. But it saw a window a few years later. After selling iPhones and other products through third-party resellers, Apple launched its official online store in India in 2020. This was the company’s first approach towards direct consumer services. Through the online store, customers can buy customized products as well as official accessories that were not available through any reseller in India.
India, being an important market, needed much more than this. India needed iconic Apple retail stores that are known worldwide for their architectural brilliance and satisfying experience. Apple lobbied to open physical Apple Stores but the Indian government rules that a foreign brand must manufacture 70 percent of its total shipments in the country to be able to open a single-brand outlet. It was after the pandemic that Apple began to see an opportunity to comply. Due to the ongoing tussle between the US and China, Apple began looking elsewhere for the production of its products. India met its requirements and within two-three years, major Apple suppliers, Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron, set up large-scale manufacturing and assembly facilities in the southern part of the country.
With advanced manufacturing, Apple may debut retail stores in India. That’s what happened and today the first physical Apple Store opened in Mumbai. The next store is opening a day later at Select Citywalk Mall in Saket, New Delhi. Called Apple Saket, the company’s second physical store in the country and the first in the northern region, will offer an experience similar to Apple BKC. The opening of the doors of Tim Cook’s Apple Saket store is likely to be much like today’s opening of Apple BKC in Mumbai.
The opening of a second Apple Store in the country will likely follow Apple’s doubling-down effort in India. Reports suggest that Apple will soon start manufacturing the upcoming iPhone 15 in India, making it the first company to produce an iPhone model ahead of its launch in the country. Until now Apple had announced their manufacturing in India after the launch of its flagship iPhone models. The increased production of the latest iPhone models will enable Apple to export India-made units to more markets than it does now.
But whether all this will affect the iPhone’s price – which is equivalent to two months’ salary of an average Indian – only time will tell.
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