A new report states that Cupertino-based Apple Inc plans to scale up its presence in the country and plans to triple the number of its exclusive stores in India to have around 200 of them by 2015.
These plans were discussed last month when Hugeues Asseman, Apple’s vice-president (sales) for Europe, Middle-East, India, and Africa visited Mumbai last month, reports The Economic Times.
Presently Apple sells its products via a number of Apple exclusive stores, called Apple Premium Resellers that are owned and managed by 17 franchisees. Apart from increasing the number of franchisees, Apple also plans to expand its presence in multi-brand stores like Croma. At present, there are more than 65 exclusive Apple stores in India owned and managed by franchisees.
Apple has so far not opened its own stores in India. This could be that even though the government has allowed single-brand companies like Apple to operate fully-owned stores, it has made it compulsory for such firms to source 30% of the goods they sell here from local vendors.
Apple’s Heady March
While India has traditionally been a low-priority market for Apple, that seems to be changing as Apple makes a big marketing push in India as it looks to stop the march of Samsung, its main competitor in its home market, the US, as well as other emerging markets.
Apart from launching massive advertising campaigns in India, the iPhones and iPad are also being sold on EMIs.
The newspaper report also states that Apple has asked its franchisees to upgrade Apple exclusive stores in India to global specifications. These outlets will have the iconic glass décor. The cost of refitting and redesigning each store is expected to be more than Rs 1 crore, which the company will reimburse the franchisee owners over a year, an Apple Premium Reseller franchisee told the newspaper.
While Apple has sold its iPhone and iPad in India for a few years now, they launched the Apple TV here last month.
It was already reported earlier that Apple was beefing up its distribution through its partners. Apart from selling the iPhone at telecom operator stores like Airtel and Aircel, Apple has also partnered with distributors like Redington and Ingram Micro to improve its distribution network here.
Due to the channel restructuring and the launch of the iPhone 5 in Q4 of 2012, Apple India saw a huge surge in shipments, sending it to the second spot in terms of revenue in the overall smartphone market in India.
It is definitely good to see Apple taking India more and more serious these days, and with the smartphone market growing exponentially, maybe one day soon we will see new Apple devices launch in India on the same day as its global launch.