The launch of Apple’s first offline store in India, announced for this year for Mumbai, is delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company confirmed. Apple CEO Tim Cook had early last year announced that the company will open its first retail store in 2021.
While Apple has a strong franchise retail network across India, it’s online store launched last September has been helping the company reach buyers beyond its retail network. This January, in an earnings call after announcing the company’s 2020 results, Cook said Apple had sold over a million devices in the country for the first time.
“If you take India for example, we doubled our business last quarter compared to a year ago,” he told analysts while qualifying that Apple’s “absolute level of business there is still quite low relative to the size of the opportunity.”
Since offline retail was closed for most of 2020, the unprecedented numbers in India were clearly fuelled by its new online presence cashing in on the pandemic-induced demand. In the Q1 2021 earnings call, Cook confirmed this underlines the great reaction the online store had got and how he looked forward to the launch of offline retail.
In the recent Q3 earnings call, Cook attributed the “new June quarter revenue record of $81.4 billion, up 36% from last year” to double-digit growth in most markets, “with especially strong growth in emerging markets, including India, Latin America and Vietnam.”
In India, the more affordable iPhone SE is also helping rake in numbers along with the older iPhone 11 and the new iPhone 12 series. In fact, a recent CyberMedia Research report said Apple had clocked 140% growth in the Apple-June quarter powered by iPhone 11 which accounted for 60% of the shipments.
Apple, which has been in India for over two decades now, has been manufacturing selected models in India over the last few years. It also has an app accelerator in Bengaluru where it handholds Indian developers to make better and more commercially successful apps.
This June, Apple completed the reopening of all its US stores which had been shut down last year following the pandemic.