Apple Inc has decided to scale up its presence in the country and plans to triple its exclusive stores to around 200 by 2015.
India had for a long time been a low-priority market for the company founded by Steve Jobs.
but sales of iPhones and iPads in the country have prompted Apple to take a serious look at India as it searches for new growth markets.
At present, there are more than 65 exclusive Apple stores in India owned and managed by franchisees. Apple products are also sold through multi-brand outlets such as Croma and The Mobile Store.
So far, Apple has not opened any of its iconic company-owned stores in India. While 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. Currently, the US company does not manufacture any of its products in India and the 30% sourcing clause could, therefore, deter it from opening self-owned stores. But it has asked its franchisees to upgrade Apple exclusive stores in India to global specifications, including designing, lay-outs, fit-outs, and is even sending its global suppliers to fit those stores. These outlets will have a lot of glass decor, which Apple uses at its company-owned stores in the US. 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 said.
Apple over India
The US and China were the only countries that accounted for more than 10% of Apple’s net sales in 2012 and 2011. Apple CEO Tim Cook had time and again said China is where Apple would see future growth, and famously said last year that while he loved India, the country had much less business potential. This is in stark contrast to Samsung, which has identified India as a key market for its smartphone business.