On Tuesday, Tim Cook, Apple‘s chief executive, opened the first Apple retail store in Mumbai, India, marking a significant milestone for the tech giant, 25 years after it entered the South Asian market. As part of his visit, Cook planned to hold meetings with prominent business leaders such as Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani, Tata Group’s Natarajan Chandrasekaran, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as Apple looks to gain ground on Samsung in the premium smartphone market in Asia’s second-largest economy.
The First Apple Retail Store in Mumbai, and the next Store will be in Delhi
Apple’s first official store in Mumbai, with a second location scheduled to open in New Delhi on Thursday, comes at a time when the company is ramping up its manufacturing operations in India, aiming to turn one of the world’s biggest smartphone markets into a key global iPhone assembling hub. While Apple’s iPhones account for less than 5% of the Indian smartphone market, its share has been on the rise in recent years as more Indians purchase premium handsets.
The opening of the first Apple retail store in Mumbai, with a second store scheduled to open in New Delhi, marks a significant milestone for the tech giant. The move comes as the company is ramping up its manufacturing operations in India with the aim of making the country a key global iPhone assembling hub. India is currently one of the world’s biggest smartphone markets, with a population of over 1.3 billion people.
Apple Store Opening Draws Huge Crowds in Mumbai
The opening of Apple’s 20,000 square feet store in Mumbai’s high-end shopping mall, owned by Reliance, attracted hundreds of people who queued up to witness Cook opening the glass doors.
The establishment of Apple’s first retail stores in India and its increased efforts to assemble iPhones and other products underscores the South Asian market’s importance to the Cupertino-based company. According to JP Morgan analysts, Apple is expected to expand its manufacturing capacity in India to produce 25% of all iPhones by 2025.
Despite Apple’s iPhones accounting for less than 5% of the Indian smartphone market, the company’s share has been on the rise in recent years as more and more Indians are opting for premium handsets. Apple’s increased manufacturing operations in the country are aimed at capitalizing on this growing demand and making its products more accessible to Indian consumers.
In addition to the increased manufacturing operations, the opening of the two Apple stores in India underscores the company’s commitment to expanding its presence in the Indian market. By opening retail stores, Apple is looking to establish a direct connection with Indian consumers, offering them a unique retail experience and a chance to interact with Apple products in person. This approach has proven successful in other markets, where Apple’s retail stores have become a significant source of revenue and customer loyalty.
Moreover, by setting up Apple retail stores in India, The company is looking to enhance its brand image and reputation in the country. Apple has always been associated with luxury, and its products are often seen as status symbols worldwide. By establishing Apple retail stores in high-end shopping malls, Apple is hoping to create a similar perception among Indian consumers.
Overall, the opening of Apple’s first official store in Mumbai and the second location scheduled to open in New Delhi marks an important milestone for the tech giant as it looks to expand its presence in one of the world’s biggest smartphone markets. With the increased manufacturing operations and the establishment of Apple retail stores, The company is aiming to turn India into a key global iPhone assembling hub and capitalize on the growing demand for premium handsets among Indian consumers.
Apple Dominates India’s Smartphone Exports with $5 Billion in Sales
Apple’s increased production is already yielding positive results, with the company exporting more than $5 billion worth of smartphones from India, accounting for nearly half of all exports from the country, in the financial year that ended in March, according to industry analysts.
However, despite the local assembly of iPhones and the company’s partners reaping the benefits of New Delhi’s incentives, Apple’s products, including the iPhone, remain prohibitively expensive in India, a move that has surprised analysts who had expected the company to pass on the incentives to customers.
For example, the base model iPhone 14 Pro, priced at $999 in the U.S., retails for close to $1,600 in India. This is not an isolated case, as the second-generation HomePod, which retails for $299 in the U.S., costs $401 in India. Even official iPhone cases are similarly priced to some of the country’s top-selling Android smartphones.
Furthermore, even after paying a high price, Apple customers in India do not have access to many of the company’s services, such as News+, Fitness+, and Apple Pay. Apple Maps and Siri offer fewer features to Indian customers than to their counterparts elsewhere.
Despite feeling like second-tier customers, millions of Indian consumers continue to purchase Apple products. While Tim Cook‘s visit to India every five years is a notable event, it has yet to bring about significant change for the country’s Apple enthusiasts.
While Tim Cook’s visit to India every five years is a notable event, it has yet to bring about significant change for the country’s Apple enthusiasts. Indian consumers are still waiting for Apple to launch their latest products in India at the same time as other markets, and they want to see the company invest more in customer service and support in the country. They believe that Apple has the potential to be a market leader in India, but only if they are willing to treat their Indian customers as equals.
Global Giants Dominate Indian Market with Affordable Services and Billions in Investments
In contrast, global giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Walmart, and Samsung have invested tens of billions of dollars in India over the past decade and offer nearly all of their global services to Indian customers, often at very affordable prices. Google Pay and Walmart’s PhonePe lead the mobile payments market in India.