Apple CEO Tim Cook announces first online store in India
Apple Inc will launch its online Apple Store in India on September 23, offering Apple’s full range of products, as well as direct support to its customers across the country for the first time.
In February, Apple CEO Tim Cook had said the company will launch its online store in India later this year, while its first physical retail store will open in the country in 2021.
In a tweet, Cook said that the company recognises how important it is for its customers to "stay in touch with those they love and the world around them".
Apple has been operating in India for more than 20 years and at present, it sells its products in India through third-party sellers and online marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon.
In a major push to single-brand retail, the government had last year relaxed foreign direct investment (FDI) guidelines, offering players more flexibility on local sourcing norms. It had also done away with a provision that required companies to mandatorily set up a brick-and-mortar store before getting into online retail trading.
Following the government's move, Apple had said it was keen on offering online and in-store experiences to Indian users at par with its global standards.
The Apple Store online will allow people to shop for Apple products, with online Apple specialists available to help with services like custom-configuring Macs to setting up new devices. In a blog, the company said that people in India will be able to get the same premium experience found in Apple store locations around the world.
People can also get advice, receive guidance, and learn about new products directly from Apple, both in English and Hindi.
“We’re proud to be expanding in India and want to do all we can to support our customers and their communities,” said Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail + People.
“We know our users are relying on technology to stay connected, engage in learning, and tap into their creativity, and by bringing the Apple Store online to India, we are offering our customers the very best of Apple at this important time," he added.
With financing options and an available trade-in programme, the Apple Store online offers a range of affordability options. Students can shop for a Mac or iPad with special pricing, and receive discounts on accessories and AppleCare+. In October, customers can expect free online Today at Apple sessions led by local Creative Pros, focused on photography and music.
For the festive season, Apple will also enable signature gift wrap and personalised engraving for select products in English, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.
Apple, which competes in the premium smartphone segment in India with players like Samsung and OnePlus, has been aggressively ramping up its presence in the Indian market. The US-based company, in collaboration with partners like Wistron and Foxconn, recently started assembling iPhone 11 in India.
According to Counterpoint Research, India's smartphone shipments in the premium segment (priced above Rs 30,000) declined 32 percent year-on-year to over one million in the June 2020 quarter on account of disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the fall, it was one of the least affected segments and reached its highest-ever share in the overall India smartphone market, contributing more than four percent in total smartphone shipments, as per Counterpoint.
(With inputs from PTI)