At an annual shareholder meeting on February 26, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company will open an online store in India – the world’s second largest smartphone market – this year. It also opened its Apple Store retail store in 2021.
Cook said he strongly believes in opportunities in India, a country with unmatched dynamism and demographics. Previously, TechCrunch revealed that Apple plans to open an online store in India in the third quarter of 2020.
India is a tough market for Apple and several other companies to sell high-end products. The market continues to grow, but the majority of people can’t afford to buy Apple devices. In fact, most smartphones sold here cost $ 150 or less, according to research firm Counterpoint.
For Apple, another challenge is the heavy import tax on electronics. It makes the iPhone even more expensive because the company forces users to incur this cost.
Apple wants to increase the attractiveness of the product by reducing the price. For years, the company urged the government to lower its taxes. When the negotiations were unsuccessful, they moved to do what every Chinese phone maker does in India: assemble locally.
New Delhi has several offers for local electronics assemblers. For the past two years, Apple’s contractors Foxconn and Wistron have been assembling several iPhone models here and offering discounts on some, except for the latest models.
That decision proved beneficial to Apple. “Apple missing” sold nearly 925,000 iPhones in the last quarter of 2019, according to Canalys estimates. This number is up 200% over the same period in 2018 and is the most successful year for Apple here so far.
According to Canalys analyst Madhumita Chaudhary, the decision to strike hard on prices – partnering with banks to offer discounts to customers – helped Apple improve its position in the market with 99% of smartphones running Android. Apple also discusses with studios to produce content for Indian audiences.
According to TechCrunch, Cook can visit India when opening an online store. In 2019, India removed some requirements for retailers, paving the way for companies like Apple to open online sales before it is present in the traditional retail market.