Apple CEO Tim Cook has called out India as one of the key focus markets as the company sees record revenue growth.
“Looking at the business in India, we set a quarterly revenue record and grew very strong double digits year over year and so we feel very good about how we performed. That’s despite the headwinds that we talked about,” Cook said during the third quarter earnings call.
He added, “India is a hugely an exciting market for us and a major focus. We brought the online store there in 2020. We will soon bring Apple Retail there. We are putting a lot of emphasis on the market. There’s been a lot going from financing options and trade-ins to make products more affordable and give people more options to buy.”
On the opportunity in India post-Covid, Tim said, “We actually did fairly well through Covid in India and I am even more bullish now, hopefully on the other side of it. That’s the reason why we are investing there by bringing retail there, bringing the online store there and putting out significant amount of energy there.”
Hiring for retail stores
Job listings on Apple’s website in January show that the company has already started hiring for its retail stores. A 22,000 square foot location at Bandra Kurla Complex, which was supposed to open last year, appears likely to open this year.
Apple devices are currently sold only by authorised resellers and on the company’s web store. Apple does not yet have a full-fledged store run by its own employees, as it does in many other markets. Being able to operate its own stores may give Apple more control over how its devices are bought, serviced and marketed in India.
The company faced troubles in the past to open its own retail outlets due to a local sourcing requirement for single brand retail stores. This requirement was relaxed in 2019, opening the door for Apple’s imminent store launches. It has not officially announced the locations and number of these stores.
According to Counterpoint Research, Apple’s estimated market share has quadrupled to 4 per cent of the Indian smartphone market in 2022, from 1 per cent in 2018. The research firm said the company will benefit from more users switching from mid-tier devices in the next few years. Compared to a decline in sales by 43 per cent in 2018, the company has, in 2021 and 2022, grown at 90 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively, the research firm’s data show.