Apple Plans to Triple Exclusive Stores to 200 in India by 2015 [Report]

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Last month, we reported that Apple saw a four-fold jump in iPhone sales in the last quarter.

The Economic Times now reports that buoyed by this success, Apple is gearing up to scale up its presence in India, by tripling the number of exclusive stores over the next two years.

Apple currently has 65 exclusive stores currently that are run by its franchisees. Apple plans to triple its exclusive stores to 200 by 2015.

These franchisees, who did not wish to be named, told ET that they have been asked to scale up operations in the country as the Cupertino-based company plans to grow aggressively in the country. In addition to increasing the number of Apple exclusive stores, called Apple Premium Resellers, that are owned and managed by 17 franchisees, the company also plans to expand its presence in multi-brand stores, they said.

Some of these plans are said to have been discussed during last month’s Mumbai visit of Hugeues Asseman, Apple’s vicepresident (sales) for Europe, Middle-East, India, and Africa. Asseman met key trade partners and franchisee owners to take stock of the company’s India business and to outline the company’s expansion plans. Apple’s London-based spokesman, Alan Hely, declined comment on the company’s expansion plans.

Apple and its retail partners have managed to ignite iPhone sales in a cost sensitive Indian market by offering them on equated monthly instalment (EMI) scheme. The report notes that it has also extended the EMI scheme for iPads. The report notes that Apple’s share of the smartphones shipped to India, measured in value terms, has jumped from 3.9% in July-September quarter to 15.6% in October-December.

Unfortunately, if you’re in India and hoping that Apple will open its iconic company-owned stores, then don’t expect it anytime soon. Even though the Indian government has started allowing single-brand companies like Apple to operate fully-owned stores, it has made it mandatory for such companies to source 30% of the goods they sell from local vendors, which won’t be possible for Apple to achieve in the near future.

But Apple has asked its franchisses to upgrade their stores to global standards, so one should expect a much better shopping experience in these exclusive Apple stores in the future.  The franchises have enough incentive to do this as they have seen iPhone sales to jump  from Rs 30-40 lakhs (approx. $64,000 to $74,000) to Rs. 2 crores (approx. $368,000) a month.

If you’re puzzled why Apple has ignored India, the world’s second largest mobile phone market until now, it’s because the company didn’t have to depend on it for its growth. But with slowing growth in U.S. and Europe, it now really needs China and then India to drive growth year-on-year.

Via: The Economic Times