Apple has inaugurated its first flagship store in India, situated in the bustling commercial and financial center of Mumbai. The opening was postponed due to regulatory challenges and pandemic-related complications but underscores Apple's burgeoning ambitions for growth in a country it envisions as a prospective manufacturing hub. The vast size of the Indian market is particularly appealing to the Cupertino-based company, which has captured 65% of the "premium" smartphone market where prices start at $360, according to Counterpoint data.
In September of last year, Apple announced its plans to begin manufacturing iPhone 14s in India, following its initial foray into Indian production with the iPhone SE models in 2017. These moves clearly demonstrate Apple's emphasis on the present and future growth opportunities throughout various regions in the Asia-Pacific market, such as China and Japan.
Apple CEO Tim Cook officially inaugurated the company-owned store at the Bandra-Kurla Complex business district. This significant milestone signifies Apple's strategy to target one billion users across all devices by diversifying beyond Chinese production facilities and rejuvenating global revenue growth rates, which had significantly decelerated before the COVID-19 pandemic further disrupted economies worldwide and posed supply chain management challenges.
Cook's statement that the stores reflect "how much India matters to the present and future" emphasizes the potential impact of this development on driving sales figures to unprecedented levels. With strict social distancing protocols in place, customers can finally visit retail spaces across the country.
Although Apple trails behind other brands in the overall market, led by Xiaomi and Samsung according to Counterpoint data, this could change as Apple expands its retail presence throughout Mumbai, one of its most important markets after Delhi. Apple's emphasis on premium products appeals to buyers who prioritize quality over lower-priced alternatives offered by Indian and Chinese competitors.
The launch occurs more than two decades after Apple first entered the Indian market through third-party sellers, and now features its own retail space, highlighting the company's focus on growth opportunities in the region. Apple also anticipates potential payment plans and government incentives that may serve as additional catalysts for future expansion into emerging economies beyond China, where many are making significant investments amid ongoing geopolitical tensions between the US and China, which impact global supply chains.