Apple Inc is gearing up to sell its product through its own Apple Online Store to reduce dependency on third-party channels in one of the biggest markets for smartphones globally.
The tech giant is expected to launch the Apple Online Stores from next month and ahead of the festive season in India, mentions a Bloomberg report. The company is looking to cash in on the heavy demand seen during Dussehra and Diwali festivals.
Apple had earlier stated that it was “eager to serve customers” of India with the same in-store and online experience that Apple customers worldwide enjoy. The Cupertino, California-headquartered company is also planning to launch two new physical stores in Bengaluru and Mumbai respectively. Both physical stores are likely to start by next year.
Apple has been planning to focus and invest in India after growing concerns over a trade dispute between the US and China. Earlier, Apple’s largest suppliers Foxconn Technology Group, Wistron Corp, and Pegatron Corp have mentioned their plans to start manufacturing major Apple products in India. This move can also make iPhones a lot more cheaper for the general public. As per estimates, local manufacturing would help Apple reduce the import duty by 20% and help create more than 10,000 jobs. The iPhone maker is already manufacturing iPhone 11 and iPhone XR as well as the newest iPhone SE 2020 in India.
Apple currently employs third-party sellers and online marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon to sell its products in India. In a major push to single-brand retail, the government relaxed FDI guidelines last year, offering players more flexibility on local sourcing norms.
India’s smartphone shipments in the premium segment (priced above Rs 30,000) declined 32 per cent year-on-year to over 1 million in the June 2020 quarter on account of disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the fall, Apple has the highest market share of 48.8%, followed by Samsung and OnePlus in the premium smartphone segment. According to an IDC report, the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR together accounted for 28% shipments in the segment in Q2 2020. In terms of online sales channel for smartphones, Amazon holds a 47% market share followed by Flipkart’s 42% during the period.
This comes at a time when Apple has decided to incorporate 5G technology on the iPhone 12 series and the tech is likely to add up to Rs.15,000 to the production cost of each device. Having their own e-commerce platform will help as people tend to prefer buying smartphones and laptops from e-commerce companies primarily because of discounts and deals available during special sale days.