Smartphone giant, Apple has finally launched a direct selling channel to customers online.
The launch marks a significant milestone for the big tech in its plans as one of the world’s biggest economies. It also plans to open a physical store in 2021. Apple and other retailers had struggled to own independent stores without relying on third parties due to the requirements by India to produce at least source 30% of raw materials locally. This policy, however changed last year when the government relaxed some rules.
“Apple had been wanting to do this in the past, but the regulation had not allowed it,” Rushabh Doshi, a research manager for Canalys based in Bangalore said.
The ecommerce platform now offers exciting options for Indians. Shoppers are now able to customise their own Macs online and also engrave their AirPods in seven Indian languages, features than Apple had not been able to offer directly in India before now.
Experts think that this new phase for Apple will help the firm connect better with customers and thereby increase their customer base. “Until this week, many customers in India had “never gone through a true Apple experience,” Doshi said.
Apple must have been very strategic about this launch. The iPhone maker obviously did not just pick a date. This period usually accounts for one-third of annual smartphone sales in India, which marks the run-up to Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Retailers usually take advantage to run sales to make huge bucks in profit. Apple surely did not want to miss out in the frenzy.
Although Apple still has a long way to go in selling directly to Indians, it has however taken a huge step even as it pushed to further increase its market share in India. Chinese vendors with lower prices account for 72% of the smartphone market in India to show how price-sensitive consumers are. Researches think Apple will have an increased customer base as figures show that more people are turning towards premium brands.
A major challenge for Apple though is that prices are set based on taxes and the currency strength of each country against the dollar. So, this explains why tech companies always have no other option than to jack up prices when the government decides to increase tariff or when the country’s currency begins to depreciate against the dollar.
To help salvage the situation in India, Apple has ramped up manufacturing in India. In 2017, it started producing iPhones locally and has moved on with domestic production of the iPhone 11. The company expects to grow bigger from here as it continues to open stores. Despite the pandemic, the tech giant continues to invent strategies to increase the company’s revenue. In June, the big tech expanded its music services to over 70 countries. The company projects 500 million subscribers by the end of 2020. Last month, the company became a 2 trillion-dollar company, almost Africa’s GDP!
Regardless of the numerous cheaper alternatives by Chinese tech, Apple seems to be forging ahead in the face of stiff competition.