Apple CEO Tim Cook confirms first India Apple Store will open in 2021

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2020
Apple will be opening its first retail outlet in India in 2021, CEO Tim Cook has advised to shareholders, marking the iPhone maker's initial self-owned outlet in an important potential market.




Speaking to investors at the annual shareholder meeting at Apple Park on Wednesday, Cook answered a question from a shareholder about its India retail strategy. In response, Cook confirmed it will be opening its first physical retail outlet in the country in 2021.

Cook offered a further reason for opening up its own outlet, suggesting "I don't want somebody else to run the brand for us."

So far, Apple has had to rely on a network of third-party resellers to sell its iPhones in the country, without any first-party representation. Government restrictions over stores owned by non-Indian firms have caused problems with Apple's creation of an outlet, forcing the retail partnerships.

"We wouldn't be a very good partner in retail," Cook said in response to a question about India. "We like to do things our way."

The Indian government has been loosening its local-sourcing requirements, which are a prerequisite for international firms like Apple to do business directly in the country. One major rule change in Apple's favor is allowing exports to count towards the 30% local sourcing rule, which covers any iPhones or other products locally-produced by Foxconn or Wistron in the country and exported to other territories.

In October, it was reported Apple had leased a location between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet in Mumbai's Maker Maxity mall, spread over three floors. One floor is rumored to be an experience center, a second would be dedicated to retailing, and a third for the service center.

Apple is also anticipated to start online sales in India in late 2020.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    Apple sells iPhones in the US within Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, etc.  
    How is India any different?
    I assume iPhones are already sold within India’s wireless providers stores... Are they not 3rd parties?

    It’s great Apple will have their own branded stores, but it’s probably about selling accessories and getting their cut, and not ‘doing things our way’.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    Apple sells iPhones in the US within Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, etc.  
    How is India any different?
    I assume iPhones are already sold within India’s wireless providers stores... Are they not 3rd parties?

    It’s great Apple will have their own branded stores, but it’s probably about selling accessories and getting their cut, and not ‘doing things our way’.
    I used to go to India a bit for work but that was 12ish years ago so please take anything I say with a grain of salt. At the time the mobile market was a bit of a mess and the stores that sold mobile phones weren't carrier stores or national chains like Walmart, Best Buy, Costco and Target. It was a lot of little one off shops. You would buy a phone and typically a prepaid sim from a local carrier. I am sure they have plans but for me it was always a prepaid sim. I didn't get the sense these stores were ever really linked and as such Apple would have just about zero control over the retail experience. I would also that this creates a sizable blackmarket/greymarket situation. Those two things have to make hardware service a bit of a nightmare. Apple clearly has a relationship with the U.S. big box stores and has a say in how products are displayed and presented. My guess is Target, Best Buy ... don't invest in these uniform Apple fixtures on their own. Opening retail stores in country would allow Apple to have the relationship with the customers directly and not rely on resellers that they have no control over. It also would address black-market products and help customers with hardware service. All of these things combined help build the brand in country. I think that is what he is talking about when he says "doing things our way". I would hazard a guess that the ROI for opening an Apple retail store just to go after the accessory market is pretty terrible. 
  • Reply 3 of 11
    Notwithstanding the usual naysayers that might appear, this is a big deal. Opening stores in key cities will be a huge deal for expanding share in India, given how high-touch, DiFM (not DiY) the culture it is.
    photography guyBart Y
  • Reply 4 of 11
    Great news! India is a hard market to crack and I’m glad Apple will be there physically so Indians can get a hands-on experience in a real Apple Store. It’s very different to a small shop. 
    Bart Y
  • Reply 5 of 11
    Opening stores and development centers in India will be a big deal for both Apple and India. What I'm hoping is that Apple can negotiate a deal where they can sell their stuff  at equivalent prices with other parts of the world instead of the ridiculous 30-50% mark-ups that you currently have to pay to buy and iPhone, iPad or MacBook here. Apple's own brick&mortar as well as online stores will also help in terms of service and support.
    You can buy Apple products here, but the sales people know almost nothing about them, so you're pretty much on your own.
    Bart Y
  • Reply 6 of 11
    fred1fred1 Posts: 833member
    First India, then the Balkans! 
  • Reply 7 of 11
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,532member
    Anilu_777 said:
    Great news! India is a hard market to crack and I’m glad Apple will be there physically so Indians can get a hands-on experience in a real Apple Store. It’s very different to a small shop. 

    The problem is many Indians believe iPhones are just another Android. They don't know iPhone is THE iPhone.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    Beats said:
    Anilu_777 said:
    Great news! India is a hard market to crack and I’m glad Apple will be there physically so Indians can get a hands-on experience in a real Apple Store. It’s very different to a small shop. 

    The problem is many Indians believe iPhones are just another Android. They don't know iPhone is THE iPhone.
    Show us the marketing research, or please just go away.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    Bart YBart Y Posts: 36unconfirmed, member
    Apple sells iPhones in the US within Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, etc.  
    How is India any different?
    I assume iPhones are already sold within India’s wireless providers stores... Are they not 3rd parties?

    It’s great Apple will have their own branded stores, but it’s probably about selling accessories and getting their cut, and not ‘doing things our way’.

    I disagree.  Apple creates and cultivates the owner and user experience literally from day 1. By establishing its own retail presence, it has control over how it presents itself to the Indian  consumer - both currently ready to buy and aspirational consumers.  Stores also create meeting places, ecosystem introductions, and additional product evaluations and sales.  Sure, accessories is part of it, but Apple is looking way beyond that, it is literally explaining and showing itself to the entire country.  Having an Apple Store is, IMO, a prestigious event and a sign that Apple is seriously investing in India as it has in other major countries.  That will make Indians proud to consider buying Made in India iPhones and other models exported in.  

    Another factor is the huge variability in pricing, discounts, and product knowledge that 3rd party shops have or lack which severely diluted Apple’s primary message - who and what Apple is all about.  A single brand store can uniquely tell its own story without competitors’ products or sales vying for attention.  The buzz created by any Apple Store Indian visitor or new Apple product owner will be magnified many times over on social media and user groups.  Classes, training, service, the sales and new owner experiences, heck, even the unboxing is all new to them - so positive experiences will reflect positively on Apple’s reputation and help it grow and prosper in India as it has elsewhere in the world.  We here in the US have gotten used to that but new users get a chance to be “delighted” in “magical” ways.  This increases desire which increases demand, which eventually leads to more sales.  If the product, user and ownership experience is superior, that leads to customer satisfaction, sticky retention, and long term growth through new Apple owners and Android conquest conversions.  Long term win-win business model.  Apple products of course will not be for everyone, but with models across most price ranges and the newer “low” cost model coming, there is an excellent case for Apple growth in India.

    Apple Store success worldwide is the reason why so many copy cat Stores of other brands (Microsoft, Samsung, Bose, etc.) sprang up but have so little foot traffic - you can copy the look but they don’t have the product or ecosystem.  In China there are even FAKE Apple Stores literally down to fake logos and fake Android-as-iOS copy products, all trying to coattail on Apple’s success.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,759member
    Beats said:
    Anilu_777 said:
    Great news! India is a hard market to crack and I’m glad Apple will be there physically so Indians can get a hands-on experience in a real Apple Store. It’s very different to a small shop. 

    The problem is many Indians believe iPhones are just another Android. They don't know iPhone is THE iPhone.
    Show us the marketing research, or please just go away.
    Is that really necessary?  While evidence is nice, there's no need to be rude to people who share thoughts and insights without formal citation.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,176member
    So apparently the White House stepped in to assist Apple in getting approval from the Indian government for its first store in that country. 
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