With shares of Apple (AAPL) still being bullish in Indian stock markets, the CEO, Tim Cook told shareholders that the company was set to open its first retail store in India by 2021. He disclosed this on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, when he spoke to investors during the annual investors meeting held at Apple Park, Cupertino, California.
With the company putting up its first offline retail in the second-largest smartphone, Apple Insider quoted him saying: "I don't want somebody else to run the brand for us. We wouldn't be a very good partner in retail. We like to do things our way."
Apple has reportedly gotten a location in Mumbai, however, the location of the intended outlet has not been revealed yet. Also, by the third quarter of 2020, Apple’s online store is meant to start operations in India. However other Apple devices in the country are being sold offline third-party retailers and e-commerce platforms such as Flipkart and Amazon.in.
Though India has continually reported growth on luxury products including smartphones, there are several challenges that Apple may have to face. First is the fact that most of the country’s population cannot afford most Apple products, especially smartphones which about $150 or more.
Also, Apple could also be faced with the challenge of New Delhi’s high import duties imposed on electronic products. With the high import duties, most of the country’s populace will find it difficult to afford Apple products as a result of the additional cost.
For some years, Apple has appealed to India to reduce the prices of its mobile phones, as well as provide some tax benefits. Right now, Apple has taken a step to begin local smartphone assembly in the country.
Concerning the government's 2018 plan of reducing about 30% local sourcing norm in single-brand retail (SBRT), the company said: "We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team to make this possible.”
The Research Director of IDC India, Navkendar Singh said Apple is known for its retail stores and the awesome experience and services it provides.
According to Singh: "Considering the importance of offline as a channel in a diverse country like India, where consumers love to touch, feel and experience the products, the stores are a very important touch-point for any consumer company."
Apple believes that opening the retail outlet in India will help to further boost its growth, following the company’s double-digit growth it the demand for iPhones and Apple wearables in India during the 2019 holiday season.
In 2019, Apple had a strong growth in India which was aided by the iPad 2018 model.