India: Apple will launch its online store in India this year, while its first physical retail stores will open in the country in 2021, CEO Tim Cook reportedly revealed while answering questions at the company’s annual shareholder meeting held in Cupertino, California, on Wednesday. Cook’s comments pertaining to Apple stores in India come months after the Indian government eased the 30 percent local sourcing norm in single-brand retail (SBRT). The iPhone maker in August expressed its interest in kicking off its branded retail stores in the country by saying “eager to serve” customers through online and retail stores.
Cook, 59, during the annual shareholder meeting, offered the reasoning behind going with its own outlet – “I don’t want somebody else to run the brand for us.”
Apple products have long been sold by third-party Apple authorized distributors and retailers, who also seemingly handle most of the marketing right now.
“We wouldn’t be a very good partner in retail,” Cook added. “We like to do things our way.”
Apple CEO did not offer specifics on when exactly we can see the Apple stores in the country.
If we go by a previous report, Apple would start selling its devices through its online store sometime in the third quarter of this year. The company was originally speculated to start its online retail business in the country in the first quarter.
In addition to its online store, Apple is rumored to have plans to open its first physical Indian store in Mumbai. Some reports also indicated the launch of a similar store in New Delhi at a later stage.
Gadgets 360 has reached out to Apple for more details it’s India retail plans and will update this space when the company responds.
Cook also highlighted concerns over the ongoing challenges due to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak during the shareholder meeting. He called the virus a “challenge” for Apple, reports Bloomberg. The company had to temporarily shut down its stores in China due to the impact of the coronavirus in the country.
In August last year, Apple showed its interest in retail operations in India.
“We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Modi and his team to make this possible and we look forward to one day welcoming customers to India’s first Apple retail store. It will take us some time to get our plans underway and we’ll have more to announce at a future date,” the company had said in a press statement at that time, without revealing any concrete timeline.
Cook during its earnings call last month underlined that Apple registered double-digit sales growth in India for iPhone models in the holiday quarter (October-December period). Moreover, the company garnered a total revenue of $56 billion (roughly Rs. 4,01,300 crores) from its iPhone sales worldwide.