After entering the Indian market 20 years ago, United States based iPhone maker Apple has just now started to sell directly to customers of the market.
On Wednesday, its online store was launched by Apple in India which marked a very important move by the company in one of the largest economies of the world. The company also wants ot open its first physical store in the country sometime next year.
The California based Apple was forced to depend on third party sellers in the Indian market because of a bar on such foreign companies from setting up retail stores in the country unless they sourced at least 30 per cent of the raw materials form the local market. this regulation was changed last year with the government relaxing some of the norms.
“It’s been a long road,” said Rushabh Doshi, a research manager for Canalys based in Bangalore. “Apple has been wanting to do this in the past, but regulation had not allowed it.”
According to Doshi, Indian customers will now be able to customize their own Macs online – a facility that was not available to them previously, on the company’s new e-commerce platform. Indian customers would also be offered a more localized experience such as engraving the AirPods in seven Indian languages.
But according to experts, this move will now allow the company to interact directly with customers in India and showcase its ecosystem to more users.
Doshi said that until this week, many customers in India had “never gone through a true Apple experience” until this week. “In fact, a lot of Indians would not even be able to tell you what they’re missing out on because they haven’t been to Singapore, or they haven’t been to Hong Kong, or [the] US to actually see the kind of experience that Apple can provide.”
According to Tarun Pathak, an associate director with Counterpoint Research based in Gurgaon, India, the timing of the launch of the e-commerce platform from Apple has happened at a very opportune time as about one third of the total sales of smartphones in India for the entire year take place during this time.
This is festive time in the country and retailers typically offer rebates and sales on consumer products at this time of the year throughout the country over a six-week period leading up to the holiday. “It’s a very, very crucial season, and Apple does not want to miss out on that,” he said.
With just a small portion of the Indian smartphone market, less than 2 per cent, Apple has a long way to go in the Indian market even though it has big plans for the market.
That is because most of the products of the company are such priced tat they are out of reach of the average Indian customer.
In contrast, almost 72 per cent of the Indian smartphone market is captured by Chinese smartphone vendors that offer lower priced alternatives. That reflects the very high price-sensitiveness among consumers, said Pathak.
(Adapted from CNN.com)