Outlet stores

Apple plans several ‘flagship’ stores in India to boost its new retail strategy

As Apple continues its struggle to establish a broader retail presence in India, the company may soon establish several large “flagship outlets” to supplement the sales slowdown, according to a new report from Economic times.

India has long been an important and untapped growth market for Apple, although sales continue to decline. Last month, it was suggested that Apple controls just 1% of the smartphone market share in the country. Weak sales have been blamed in part on unaffordable and fluctuating iPhone prices, often set arbitrarily by Indian wholesalers.

A recent report by Bloomberg highlighted Apple’s challenges in detail, noting that plans are in place to establish three official retail stores in India starting next year. Located in New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai, the stores would be an important part of a gradual recovery strategy.

While these plans materialize, Apple could secondarily establish 5 to 6 “flagship” outlets in major cities and shopping malls across the country. With footprints of up to 5,000 square feet, outlets would dramatically eclipse the existing Apple Premium Resellers which are currently up to 1500 square feet. According to a dealer speaking to Economic times, these large outlet stores could open first in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. Later additions may include stores in Hyderabad and Pune.

Apple is currently barred from opening official outlets in India due to government regulations stating that 30% of products sold must be made locally. Despite reports dating back to 2016 suggesting that a conflict resolution was imminent, a formal agreement has yet to be reached. Last year, Chinese manufacturer Oppo was granted permission to start selling its phones in the country.

The situation was further complicated after Apple lost three key executives in India. The recent hiring Michel Coulomb, head of Indian operations, would be at the forefront of recent retail efforts. Apple is also in the midst of a fight with the India Telecom Regulatory Authority, a group threatening to ban iPhones from carrier networks if Apple continues to resist a government-imposed anti-spam enforcement.

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