Apple has over 500 retail stores around the world, but none in India. That may soon change. Yesterday (November 17), the company posted more than 13 job openings in retail stores nationwide on its website.
The Cupertino company is recruiting technical specialists, store chefs and managers, operations experts, business professionals and its Genius Bar branded specialists in “various locations in India”.
A November 16 post on LinkedIn from Mumbai-based Apple recruiter Nidhi Sharma confirmed that the first stores will be in Mumbai and Delhi. “A job at Apple is unlike any other you’ve had… Because whatever job you do here, you’ll be a part of something big and extraordinary,” Sharma wrote.
At the Bengaluru Tech Summit yesterday, Apple Vice President of Operations Priya Balasubramaniam also confirmed that the company is considering opening physical retail stores, although she did not specify a timeline. . So far, Apple has only sold its products through third-party sellers in India or through online portals such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Paytm Mall.
Apple already directly or indirectly supports more than a million jobs in India, Balasubramaniam said. This includes its own full-time employees, app developers for its iOS ecosystem, and workers in its factories.
Apple’s long-awaited retail plans in India
Apple debuted in India in August 2008 and has been trying to establish a physical presence there for years. After CEO Tim Cook’s first fanfare trip to the country in 2016, Apple finally got government clearance to plan a retail presence.
However, Apple’s inability to source at least 30% of raw materials locally – a requirement for overseas retailers establishing stand-alone stores in India – kept it from setting up for another three years.
In 2019, after much pressure, India relaxed local sourcing standards for overseas retailers, including Apple. In October of the same year, the company reportedly spotted a 25,000 square foot location in one of Mumbai’s business parks to make it its flagship store in India.
Then the pandemic arrived, pushing back his plans for retail stores once again.
What is the status of Apple India online store?
With plans for its offline store plans on hold, Apple has moved on to building its online presence in India, launching its own online store in September 2020.
The move came at an opportune time: The more affordable iPhone 11 and locally assembled iPhone SE had given the brand a boost, there was pent-up demand after India’s three-month nationwide lockdown and domestic production was on the rise. .
In the June-September quarter, Apple’s iPhone sales in India exceeded 2 million for the first time. During this period, Apple was the fastest growing smartphone brand, posting 212% year-over-year growth due to strong demand for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 11, according to a report by October from market intelligence firm Counterpoint Research.
Apple’s “targeted strategy” in the Indian market, combined with an “aggressive online channel strategy” has paid off, said Prachir Singh, senior analyst at Counterpoint.
Apple’s prices in India have been among the most expensive in the world due to high import duties. Singh believes the cheaper offerings in recent months, made possible by increased local manufacturing, are helping to boost sales.
In fiscal 2021 (which ends in September for Apple), the iPhone maker said it doubled its business in India. “We are optimistic about the future, especially as we see strong demand for our new products,” Cook said during the October 28 earnings call.
Apple still faces challenges in the country. The Covid-19 has hit production lines hard. Separately, Apple could face an antitrust investigation like those in the United States, Europe and other parts of Asia, as Indian authorities investigate the 30% fee on in-app transactions that they charge the developers.
The Apple Store experience
Expanding its retail presence globally isn’t just about selling laptops and phones for Apple.
Abroad, Apple stores are more like “town squares” than factory outlets. Their free wifi is a big draw, and some offer co-working opportunities, with modern meeting rooms. In several locations, the company runs courses in which “creative pros” teach clients skills such as photography, music, art, coding, and more. Such experience-driven retailing aims to foster a community of longtime fans of the brand.
The stores are also giving Apple the opportunity to tackle its massive repair problem in India, where any repairs must be done through Apple’s certified third-party outlets, and typically take months and cost several hundred dollars. Several people have taken to Twitter to complain about a heartbreaking service. (They’re not the only ones who find it difficult to make repairs; Apple recently launched a service for users interested in attempting their own basic repairs.)
By bringing a store to India, Apple can create their own Genius Bars and hopefully alleviate some of these issues.