After an expansion into China that is nothing short of spectacular, Apple next has its sights set on India, with its vast population of 1.2 billion citizens and rapidly-growing smartphone market.
With that in mind, the company is reportedly finalizing plans to open 500 “iOS stores” in the country, ranging from smaller 300-600 square foot retail outlets, to ones over 2,000 square foot in larger locations.
These stores will likely be run as a franchise model, and operated by Redington, one of Apple’s two distributors in India, which supplies Apple devices to regional stores. Remington currently accounts for around 70 percent of Apple sales in India.
Although Apple has a presence in larger cities like Delhi and Mumbai, its products are less available in smaller towns and cities, such as Amritsar, Pathankot, Moga, Coimbatore, Trichy, Nagpur and Nasik.
The popularity of Apple products (particularly the iPhone) is only growing in India, and this is viewed as the perfect time to expand. In the year ending September 2014, it is reported that around 1 million iPhones sold in the country — and this number is expected to triple to 3 million in 2015. Apple will likely increase spending for direct advertising to help drive these increased sales.
While this all good news, however, that isn’t to say Apple doesn’t face challenges in India — as it also has in China. Recently an attempt was made by the Indian company iVoice Enterprises to bar Apple from using the name iPhone, on the grounds that iVon owned the trademark to the phonetically-similar iFon.
Apple has additionally previously struggled with Apple-authorized resellers in the country. This time last year, Indian-based Reliance Retail announced that it was shutting 16 of its 20 Apple premium reseller stores because Apple claimed they did not comply with company guidelines.
Apple dictates that its stores must conform to a standardized design featuring high ceilings, white LED lighting, wooden floors, specific display tables, and numerous other details. Reliance has been focusing on rapid expansion, and had ignored Apple’s design requests.
The company has also struggled in its effort to open official Apple Stores based on its difficulty overcoming demands from the Indian government.
Hopefully the 500 “iOS Stores” fare better.
Source: Economic Times
Via: Patently Apple