Apple Plans to Expands Presence in India
Yesterday, Apple Insider reported that in light of Apple’s recent successes in India, the company plans to significantly grow its presence in the country by 2015. The plan involves increasing the number of resellers from 65 to over 200. Further plans involve Apple upgrading many of its current retail outlets. These plans are in addition to the company’s recent ad campaign in India pushing iPhones through installment payment plans to make the device more affordable.
According to The Economic Times, Apple plans to triple the number of exclusive stores in India by 2015. These stores are different from the iconic company-owned Apple stores in that they are third-party franchises that only sell Apple products. While India is an increasingly important market for Apple, the iPhone maker has no Apple retail locations in the country. Reported in Forbes,part of the reason for this is that the Indian government mandates that single-brand stores source 30 percent of their goods from local Indian vendors. Currently, Apple manufactures none of its products in India.
In additional to increasing the number of retail outlets, the company is also reportedly instructing its current resellers to bring their locations up to Apple's global retail specifications. This will include altering the design of the reseller locations. Apple is reportedly sending in global suppliers to fit out the stores in the company's signature glass decor and will be reimbursing resellers for upgrade costs. According to Apple Insider, Reliance Retail, Apple's largest Indian premium seller, is looking at several properties for Apple stores. To improve the consumer experience, Reliance executives have said that the new stores will be based on the designs of Apple's "best stores internationally."
Currently, according to Apple Insider, Apple is in second place in the Indian smartphone market but it lags far behind Samsung. Apple seems to be aggressively pushing into India, a market where it only has a small share. Reported in Business Standard, Apple's efforts in India comes at a time when competitors like Samsung with its android-based smartphones and Blackberry with its recently launched Z10 smartphones are quite established brands in the market. Industry observers allegedly believe that Apple’s aggressiveness comes at good time in the India where the opportunities are set to expand. According to Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, “The smartphone boom is going to happen in the Indian market.Such aggressiveness by Apple in the Indian market clearly shows their intent to capture the large opportunities which are available in India.”
With a so called smartphone boom predicted to happen in India in the near future, it may seem like an optimal time for Apple to push into the growing market. However, I am personally not too sure on whether this will mean a greater market share for the company. It is likely that all other competitors will also aggressively push sales and gaining market share will be hard in a country that has other, better established players.
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