Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, inaugurated the company’s first retail store in Mumbai, India, where he was seen waving to customers and opening the store’s doors amidst employees’ cheers. He greeted customers, took selfies, and is expected to attend the opening of a second store in Delhi on Thursday.
People from all over India reportedly came to the opening event in Mumbai, which included local music and folk dance performances. The Mumbai store, located in an upscale neighborhood, was designed with inspiration from the city’s iconic black-and-yellow taxis. Prior to this launch, Apple products were only available in India through online channels or a network of resellers.
Apple’s push to deepen its retail presence in India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market, is timely as the iPhone remains an aspirational product in a price-sensitive market where over 95% of smartphones use Google’s Android platform.
As Apple expands its supply chains beyond China, India is emerging as a manufacturing hub for the iPhone, accounting for 5% of its total production. Though the launch of retail stores is seen as a significant branding move, analysts suggest that it may not have an immediate effect on Apple’s sales in India. Nevertheless, some experts have noted that this is an opportune time for Apple to invest in India’s burgeoning “premium smartphone” market, which comprises devices priced at 40,000 rupees (£451; $558) or more.
According to technology analyst Navkendar Singh, launching an Apple store provides a premium experience to premium consumers, attracting more individuals to the Apple ecosystem, even if it does not necessarily boost sales.
Apple has been attempting to establish physical retail stores in India for a considerable time, with its initial plans for 2021 derailed by the Covid-19 pandemic. CEO Tim Cook’s current visit marks his first trip to India in seven years, with his previous visit taking place in 2016 when Apple was still in the early stages of scaling up operations in the country.
During his visit, Cook was seen sharing a popular Indian snack, vada pav, with Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit, and he is expected to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Deputy IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar. However, there has been no official announcement regarding this meeting from Mr. Modi’s office.