Apple stores reportedly coming to India by 2017

Ramarko Sengupta, Factordaily:

Apple Inc., maker of iPhones and Mac computers, will set up three of its own retail stores — the iconic Apple Store — in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai within the the next 18 months[…]

Apple will also unveil a start-up accelerator in India, the first such initiative by the company, to incubate ideas mostly around applications built for iOS, the Apple operating system. The announcement will be made later this week, when Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook visits India.

Each Apple Store will be spread across 10,000 square feet and will be located at high street locations of the three metros.

And:

Apple CEO, [will] meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits India during the second leg of his Asia tour. […]

In the premium smartphone segment (Rs 30,000 upwards) in India, Apple held the second spot in terms of market share after Samsung in 2015, according to Cybermedia Research. India is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world and Apple is likely to gain from the 51% growth expected in 2016, Cybermedia said.

Cook’s visit and the likely Apple Store announcement comes after the Modi government relaxed rules on local sourcing as a condition for foreign direct investment in single-brand retail in November. Single-brand retailers are those who sell products under their own label.

Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore: India’s national capital, financial capital and tech. capital (Indians sometimes refer to Bangalore as India’s Silicon Valley) respectively — they’re obvious first steps.

I’ve been wondering where these stores would open since a while. Every iconic Apple Store I can think of — the ones Apple shows off in their promo videos that is — are all individual structures. They aren’t, say, set up in a mall, or exist among a series of shops — which is the way Apple’s partnered stores are currently established in India. If Apple plans to build similar iconic stores, here, in India, they would need some form of an individual structure.

I realise that Apple may have similar part-of-a-string stores abroad too but they aren’t the ones that get marketed. A distinguished, solitary, individual structure holds an inherent marketing appeal. My guess is Apple is going after this solitary, distinguished store. It gives them the aforementioned marketting advantage and it’s an advancement of the current infrastructure. Why invest if you don’t want to advance? Judging by the report’s claims of area needed, I think it’s almost certain these stores would be solitary and distinguished.

As far as I remember, I haven’t seen any such places in India where a singular luxury brand sets up shop for customer visits (although Mumbai is probably an exception, memory fails me here). The luxury brands I’ve seen are either part of a mall or a similar collective of shops. I don’t think that would be Apple’s ideal plan if ‘iconic’ is what they have in mind. Regardless, if they generate enough fanfare — Apple has the money, the influence and, anecdotally, the prospects — these stores can be huge hits for Apple: in peaked interest, if not iPhone sales.

Additionally, what happens to the companies Apple’s currently partnered with? Do we get a Genius bar? Do prices of Apple products reduce now? There are a lot of questions that should, I hope, be answered by next year.

I’m also curious about this “start-up accelerator”. The report suggests it’s to make iOS a primary candidate for app ideas in India. Maybe it’s a part of a bigger services push in the country? Or a program to raise awareness?

In Uncategorized by Mayur Dhaka