Apple to triple retail presence in India by 2015, own stores still improbable

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After realizing India’s potential, Apple is now acting to catch up with rival Samsung. The latest sign of Apple’s new-found interest: a Tuesday report claiming the iPhone maker plans to open 200 exclusive stores in the country, tripling the number of locations now available to India’s mobile consumers.

The push into retailing for Apple reportedly includes importing suppliers to help local franchisers adopt the iconic sleek glass design of other locations selling iPhones, iPads and other devices from the Cupertino firm. Apple’s retail efforts follow a turn-around in iPhone sales marked by direct-to-consumer sales and other marketing adjustments…

“Apple has sold more iPhones in India since November than they did in the last four years,” an unnamed owner of an Apple premium reseller told the Times of India.

During that time, Apple’s smartphone market share in India increased to 15.6 percent during October through December, up from just 3.9 percent the previous quarter. The successes of its marketing changes may provide a reasons for the move to triple Apple’s retail locations in India from 65 to 200 over the next two years.

That doesn’t mean building own brick-and-mortar stores in the 1.25 billion people market.


Per government regulations, branded stores are required to carry as much as thirty percent of products from Indian companies. That’s why Apple’s retail strategy in India revolves around the concept of franchising.

At Apple’s largest reseller in India, Reliance Retail, they are seeking to expand their stores from the current 20 and looking at new locations ranging from 800-2,000 square-feet.

The chain will “be remodeled with newer fixtures that Apple uses in some of its best stores internationally to provide a far superior consumer experience,” Reliance Digital CEO Brian Bade told the Times.

Apple’s increased attention to India is not without obstacles. Although Apple has tripled its market share, Korea’s Samsung still has more than 38 percent of the smartphone sales.

Feeding that strong presence is a distribution network in India which includes 500 stores known as “Samsung Smartphone Cafes” and an additional 350 Samsung Plaza locations which display the firm’s entire product family.

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