Cupertino-based tech giant Apple has announced it is unveiling its first-ever online store in India next week, after years of exclusive ties with offline and online retailers to sell its coveted products in the subcontinent.
Up until now, Apple products were primarily available in offline brick and mortar stores, some exclusive retailer of Apple (like !magine), while the online presence was mostly in partnership with third-party e-commerce giants like Amazon’s India unit and Walmart-owned Flipkart.
Now the company is taking the online retail reins in its own hand and launching the first online store directly managed by the tech-giant on September 23, the company said on Friday.
It is unclear if Apple’s other offline presence will be called in, or the self-governed online store is a part of its expansion plans in India.
While not the biggest market for the $2 trillion company, the company’s products have a loyal and often exclusive fan-following in India, the world’s second-largest market for smartphones after China.
Tens of millions of Indians vouch for the company’s iPhones, the monopoly handheld device that is solely owned by Apple with no other alternatives.
Despite the demand, the phones often remain out of reach for the vast majority Indian’s thanks to its premium pricing. However, some of Apple’s recent models like the iPhone SE 2020 offer a much balanced price-to-feature ratio and are quite popular in India.
With the first online retail outlet directly from Apple, the smartphone-maker is seeing eye-to-eye with the Indian market leaders like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus among others, which all sell their offering via third-party online retailers as well as offline partnerships and proprietary stores.
Speaking about proprietary offline retail outlets, Apple world-famous Apple Stores are yet to make a way in India. Reuters notes that one could possibly come up in Mumbai in 2021 which is under construction.
Although a vast market for smartphone users, Apple manages to command only 1% of the same in India. In the wake of the pandemic, Apple has increasingly preferred India as its next manufacturing and fulfilling base after China.
Just recently, Foxconn, the Taiwanese smartphone-manufactures that makes the iPhones for Apple in India announced it is investing billions in Indian facility.
On September 15th, Apple held its annual launch event and unveiled a new iPad Air, the 8th gen iPad, Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE in India available in Apple offline resellers and Flipkart, Amazon.in and Paytm Mall online.