Apple looks to open its first store in one of the world's biggest smartphone markets

Apple looks to open its first store in one of the world's biggest smartphone markets
India is a great place for certain phone manufacturers to sell their products, and for others, it is a contradiction that is hard to figure out. With approximately 1.4 billion people in the country, it is the second largest smartphone market in the world after China. But with a per capita income in the country of $1,670 as of 2016 (latest data available), the consumers in the country usually favor lower priced handsets. That explains the success that Xiaomi, with its value for money policy, has had in the country.

Apple's business in India has been driven by demand for lower-priced models like the discontinued iPhone SE. To avoid a 20% tariff on imported phones, Apple had manufactured the iPhone SE in India and still produces older devices such as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 in the country.  Starting this year, it will also manufacture some of its high-end handsets in the region. Contract manufacturer Foxconn is said to be running quality tests of the iPhone XR in India with mass production of the device expected to start soon.

More than ever, Apple is looking toward India to generate sales in light of the troubles the company has had over the last year selling iPhones in China. But business now is not booming. Research firm Canalys recently reported that during the first quarter of 2019, iPhone shipments in India declined by 75% year-over-year leaving the firm with just 1% of the country's smartphone market. But Apple CEO Tim Cook is optimistic. He said during last week's earnings call that "We have made some adjustments in India and we've seen preliminarily some better results there."

Apple will reportedly choose an upscale location for its first store in India


According to Bloomberg, to help generate sales in India, Apple is planning to open its very first retail store in the market. Expanding the local production of iPhone models in the country is expected to help pave the way for government approval of India's first Apple Store. The green light could come at the end of this month or early next month when a new government takes over in the country. Canalys analyst Rushabh Doshi says that opening a store before the launch of the 2019 iPhone models later this year will help Apple "restart its Indian growth story." Doshi says that Apple is caught in a bind in India. On one hand, it wants to lower its prices in order to compete with the likes of Xiaomi and Vivo, but it also wants to maintain its "premium" image.


Still, last month Apple cut the price of the "more affordable" iPhone XR in the country by 17,000 rupees (equivalent to $244 USD). That phone is now priced in India for 59,000 rupees ($846 at current exchange rates).

Apple is apparently planning to open its first Apple Store in India at one of several upscale locations in Mumbai, according to anonymous sources cited in the report. Apple will decide on the exact location in the next few weeks. No matter which location it selects, the Indian Apple Store will be in a prestigious area of the country comparable with Apple's Fifth Avenue store in New York City, the Regent Street location in London and the store on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. This might be part of the game plan designed to keep promoting the iPhone as a premium device in India. But again, for Apple to succeed in the country, it will have to be mindful of its pricing.

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13 Comments

1. lyndon420

Posts: 6883; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Define 'premium' again? Glass and aluminum, or does it simply mean the most over priced when compared to actual manufacturing costs? Also...seeing some articles pop up elsewhere about how apple stores are becoming less customer friendly and losing their appeal - will this store be any different than what's currently available elsewhere (aside from offering cheaper and discontinued/or soon to be discontinued models)?

2. chris2k5

Posts: 291; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

Premium means premium materials like stainless steel. Not that aluminum crap Samsung or plastic Google uses. It also means a superior experience for hardware and software. Apple supports devices for longer than Google and Samsung combined with updates and hardware repairs. You simply can’t get service repairs with Samsung or Google with fast turn around.

4. OneLove123

Posts: 1264; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Oh, like the stainless steel on the LG v10? That must be the true “premium” pioneer phone. So, before that, Apple was using crap material why trying to sell their phones as premium?

6. lyndon420

Posts: 6883; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

That iphone that was bending so easily, and that newer ipad that was coming bent straight out of the box definitely was not made of titanium...or even stainless steel...or was it?! lol

7. lyndon420

Posts: 6883; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

You know there are more than 2 OEM's that make Android phones right? Maybe you guys need genius bars and fast service, but we don't...because we don't drop our phones in the toilet while taking selfies, and we prefer to protect our phones with cases because we're not about showing off the logo's for status likes etc.

10. oldskool50 unregistered

Wow. So as I recall, the iPhone 6,7and 8 were all aluminum. Apple phones before the 4 were plastic. And Stainless steel is actually only slightly more expensive than aluminum. But it is also a cheap metal. And at least Samsung was smart to make sure their aluminum phones didnt bend easily. In fact, the Note 3 made of plastic was stronger than the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple support device longer than Google? So what. A 5 year old Samsung phone does more than today's iPhone. The Galaxy S5 is. Better than the XR in so many ways. Including having a better camera, and a 1080p SAMOLED display. And glass is also cheap too. Yet Apple charges tou $600 to replace it on an iPhone X, while others only charge $100. Gosh dude. Tim Cook got tou eight where he wants you. Being completely stupid. The iPhone is not the best phone in the world no matter how many they sell. Iver 2.5B devices run Android. The real nist advanced OS in the world, that at least gets simple stuff right. If you think talking 5 steps to do a simple task than it taking only 2 or 3 on Android, then you are a loss cause.

5. Valdomero

Posts: 704; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

C'mon Apple! just price the damn thing to $650 and you'll see money fling at you everywhere!

8. lyndon420

Posts: 6883; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Not necessarily. The majority of the globe isn't interested in apple's mobile devices, so making them dirt cheap will likely just hurt apple's bottom line. Make their newest flagship phone $200 or less and I still wouldn't buy into the apple ecosystem. What apple should be doing is charging their current customers twice or three times as much for services to offset dwindling sales.

13. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

This is the most ridiculous take I've seen yet. If people could get their hands on an iPhone for less or equal to other phones, they will. There's a reason why Apple sales over 60% of ALL phones over $500.

9. Plutonium239

Posts: 1249; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

I don't know if it's just the camera taking the photo, but the picture for the article is very remincent of the flat iron building in New York city.

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