With new single-brand retail rules, Apple gears up for Indian ‘safari’

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on September 26, 2019

Apple to soon launch its first retail store in India. File Photo   -  Bloomberg

Keen on offering Indian customers global in-store experience, says iPhone maker

Apple will launch its first retail store in India following the changes in the foreign direct investment rules governing single-brand retail. Though the tech major did not say when the store will be launched, the relaxation in the policy has been something which the company has been advocating for a while.

Read more: Government opens up FDI door further

“We love our customers in India and we’re eager to serve them online and in-store with the same experience and care that Apple customers around the world enjoy. We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Modi and his team to make this possible and we look forward to one day welcoming customers to India’s first Apple retail store. It will take us some time to get our plans underway and we’ll have more to announce at a future date.” Apple said in a statement.

Analysts said that the new FDI norms were a positive consumer-centric move as it will bring the Indian market at par with other open market economies.

Related news: Apple likely to set up its first retail store in Mumbai

“This move by the government has brought about the much-needed clarity and solution to the dilemma of international brands that have high quality, specialised inputs. The earlier FDI norms were not letting better products enter the market or letting retailers look at the country. The earlier restrictive policy environment didn’t support local outsourcing. Moreover, brands were not able to continue with the same quality parameters as applicable in other international markets. As a result, interest and investments had tapered and were not forthcoming. However, now single-brand retailers will be able to start online sales before they set up brick-and-mortar stores,” said Shubhranshu Pani, MD — Retail Services & Stressed Asset Management Group, JLL.

Retail push will help Apple strengthen its India gameplan especially when revenues are finally seeing some growth after a gap of over a year.

In July, Apple reported its fiscal third quarter 2019 earnings, earning $53.8 billion in revenue and India contributing a fair bit to that.

“India bounced back during the quarter. We returned to growth there. We are very happy with that,” said Tim Cook, CEO at Apple during an Analyst call.

“In emerging markets, we returned to growth in Mainland China, grew strong double digits in India and in Brazil, and we set new Q3 records in Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines,” he said.

Choppy revenues

Apple’s India revenues have been choppy since the time of the launch of iPhone X as existing iPhone users delayed purchases and new ones found it hard to pay the high price of the new devices. Sales of iPhones have declined over 50 per cent in the past one year.

But in the last quarter, Apple finally pulled its socks up and started focussing on Indian market with special pricing, promotions and e-commerce push.



Published on August 29, 2019

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