Apple is said to be readying for a big push in India, and according to a Times of India report, is planning on setting up 500 dedicated stores. With this push, the Cupertino-based company wants to move beyond the metros and focus on smaller towns and cities.
This isn’t the first time we are hearing of Apple’s plans to set up exclusive stores in India. Earlier this year, BGR India had exclusively reported about Apple’s plans to set up stores to sell iPhones and iPads in the country. These stores are likely to be smaller than a typical Apple Premium Reseller store that has to stock all Apple products. This is in line with the ToI report, which claims that the stores “will be smaller in size and could range from 300-600 sq ft against over 2,000 sq ft size of existing stores in bigger cities.”
Since India doesn’t allow FDI in single-brand retail, Apple won’t be able to setup its own stores, and will instead have to go the franchise way. The company will offer up to 9.5 percent in margin for every iPhone or iPad sold, of which 5 percent would be upfront and the remaining 4.5 percent would be given later. It will also offer up to 6 percent margin on accessories, both from Apple and third parties.
As for the stores themselves, they would consist of one store manager, one iOS promoter (provided by Apple) and one to two sales managers, which signifies these would be tiny stores. The stores will also be required to have 10-15 demo devices, of which Apple would bear 50 percent of the cost. The ToI report further claims that Apple will be ramping up its marketing and advertising budget for its products in India.
It is not surprising to see Apple pay so much attention to India, which is also the fastest growing smartphone market in the Asia-Pacific region. While Apple’s iPhones have sold relatively well in India, the Cupertino-based giant is not even in the top-five smartphone companies in the country. According to a recent IDC report, Apple’s chief rival Samsung is the market leader followed by Micromax, Karbonn and Lava, and Motorola.
“All this will change now. The company is finalizing plans to become a serious player in India, which is being seen as a strategic and one of the most promising markets globally,” an Apple executive told the publication.
Apple recently launched the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in India, and according to the publication, sold around a million iPhones in the country in the year ending September 2014. Going forward, the company expects to triple that number and cross the three million mark.