Apple to launch its online store in India: What it means for you!

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India is one of the fastest-growing markets for smartphones and the tech giant Apple wants a large piece of this market for themselves. Owing to that, Apple is planning to launch the long-awaited online store in India and it may be available to users as soon as next month.

According to Bloomberg, the first online store in India is all set for its launch next month ahead of the festive season in the country. Apple was planning to do so for a very long time but the current pandemic as well as the foreign direct retail regulations acted as barriers. Although Covid-19 is more widespread now, Apple has resumed its operations. The foreign direct retail regulations have been eased now.

The iPhone maker lobbied New Delhi for years to get around regulations that force companies such as Apple to source 30% of components locally and have been trying to launch this online portal for over a year.

What Apple plans for India

Apple, which is headquartered in Cupertino, California had most of its manufacturing base in China. But due to the growing trade disputes, they have been looking for a new market. India comes as a perfect solution to Apple as it is one of the largest growing markets for smartphones, especially for iPhones.

Apple has just made history by surpassing $2 trillion in market value and they plan to move forward like this. It dominated India’s premium smartphone segment with a 49% market share. The latest iPhone 11 series as well as the iPhone XR combined for 28% of those high-end shipments, which means users are spending on higher-spec iPhones. Apple competes with Samsung and OnePlus in the premium smartphone space in India.

The iPhone maker has already started strengthening its manufacturing ties with India by establishing its first manufacturing unit of the country at Foxconn plant near Chennai. Local manufacturing is supposed to cut import duty by 20% and create around 10,000 job opportunities.

At the time, the latest generations of the Apple iPhone SE as well as the iPhone 11 series are being manufactured in India. It is being seen as a boost to the Make in India initiative.

According to Bloomberg, Apple plans on coming with two more ventures in the country. Apparently it has already scouted nearly half a million square feet of space right in the heart of Bangalore near Minsk Square to install another brick-and-mortar unit in Bangalore. Though Apple did not respond to this claim. This will be followed by the first Apple retail store in Mumbai in the lavish BKC neighborhood, which will open next year.

How will Apple’s latest plan affect you and others

The upcoming online store in India has a varied impact overall. Apple currently sells its line-up of hardware, including the iPhone SE, iPhone 11, iPhone XR, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Apple Watch, and AirPods via franchise partners who have physical stores across India and also on online platforms including Flipkart, Amazon, Walmart, etc.

In the premium smartphone segment, Amazon holds a 47% market share followed by Flipkart’s 42% during Q2 2020. A large proportion of Indians are loyal customers of Apple as it represents a certain class in society. People legitimately go crazy whenever a new model of the phone is announced and participate in the race to get it first. Having its own online store could help the company control branding and win customer loyalty while leveling the field with competitors like China’s OnePlus and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co.

Apple Store App Icon
Apple Online Store’s app icon

If you are thinking you may be getting reduced prices as you are not buying from a third party, you might not be wrong. An online store in the country will help in the dismissal of the hefty retailer cuts making the iPhone costs lower than its usual high price. Apple has always suffered from lower sales in the country due to the mentioned high cost of the products, but because of the rule change, we expect to see a boost in the sales.

Having said that, Apple has never done heavy discounting at its online stores in any country but they do provide small discounts around the festive seasons in the US and UK. They may go about a similar strategy in India as the launch is already scheduled before Dussehra.

There’s one other thing. An online Apple store will make it easier for buyers to preorder their iPhones. To date, buyers intending to preorder an iPhone right after launch have to browse through different retailer websites scouring for ones that accept preorders, which is always subject to availability. An Apple online store will let users buy their iPhones from one place without having to buy into all the confusion.

Apple may even offer some perks if the product is being bought from their online store and not a third party. This will definitely earn the customers’ trust as it will provide them with a full Apple experience, from manufacturing to delivery.

Final thoughts

This online store will also boost up the Make in India campaign and can be called a by-product of it. We could see a large chunk of the products on the online store and in physical stores with the Made in India badge.  Apple’s partners in India, Foxconn and Wistron are now manufacturing and assembling the iPhones at their facilities in the count.

It is not clear at this time whether you will also be able to buy gadgets and accessories from Apple certified and recommended partners.

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