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regular-article-logo Friday, 12 July 2024

Apple mania at store launch

People gathered from across the country, hoping to be among the first to enter the store in an opening event featuring local music and folk dancers

Reuters, Our Calcutta Bureau Mumbai Published 19.04.23, 07:04 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

About 300 people lined up at Apple’s store in Mumbai on Tuesday, as fans took selfies with chief executive Tim Cook who inaugurated the first retail store run by the company in India, underscoring the importance of its market.

People gathered from across the country, hoping to be among the first to enter the store in an opening event featuring local music and folk dancers.

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Some fans queued outside from the previous night to get their hands on Apple products, even though they are available online in India.

“The fanboy inside me would not listen,” Purav Mehta, 30, said, as he waited to get Cook’s signature on his boxed mint-condition iPod Touch, which he had bought on eBay, as well as waiting to buy the Apple Watch Ultra.

Many wore T-shirts in the style favoured by co-founder Steve Jobs, had their hair cut in the shape of an Apple logo and one fan even brought a version of the first Apple computer launched in 1984.

“The vibe here is just different,” said 23-year old Aan Shah, who travelled from Ahmedabad for the launch in India’s commercial capital.

“It’s not like buying from some normal store. There’s just no comparison. It’s so exciting.”

His love for Apple took him to store openings as a young student in New York and Boston, where he once got a chance to meet Cook, he said.

The new store, located in the Reliance-owned Jio World Drive mall, opened for bloggers and tech analysts at a private event on Monday, while many Indian film and television celebrities were seen meeting Cook that night.

A second store in Delhi, the capital, is set to open on Thursday. Cook is set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the deputy IT minister later this week.

As Apple pushes to make India a bigger manufacturing base, some of its products, including iPhones, are being assembled in the country by Taiwanese contract electronics manufacturers Foxconn and Wistron Corp.

Apple has previously faced hurdles in opening physical stores in India, but its products have been available on e-commerce websites, while its online store opened in 2020.

“Going forward offline retail is crucial as average selling price rises. Consumers would like to have a look and feel of the product, especially in the premium segment,” Tarun Pathak, research director, Counterpoint Research, said.

“With Apple stores (in India), Apple will be able to control the end-to-end user experience, and this will further take its brand image to one level up,” he said.

“However, the challenge for Apple is to get the device financing, trade-in, and bundling schemes attractive to reduce the barriers to entry into the Apple ecosystem for first-time iPhone users or the mid-tier to premium upgrades.”

According to Pathak, Apple has an opportunity to target tens of millions of smartphones in sales every year from 6 million units currently.

“Comparatively, Apple sells more than 50 million units annually in markets such as China and the USA. So, India has the potential to reach that scale from a domestic demand perspective in the coming years,” Pathak said.

Market sources said that amid the rising importance of India in Apple’s business footprint, it would make sense for the Cupertino-based company to provide a geographic split of its revenue from key markets in the Asia Pacific region for a better understanding of the business for the company’s investors.

However, there is no official confirmation from Apple yet on whether they are considering this.

At present, in its financial disclosure Apple provides a breakup of revenue by Americas, Europe, Greater China, Japan and rest of Asia Pacific.

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