For the first time in more than 20 years since Apple began its operations in India, the iPhone-maker has started selling its products directly to consumers in the world’s second largest smartphone market.
Apple launched its online store in India on Wednesday, which in addition to offering nearly the entire line-up of its products, also brings a range of services for the first time to consumers in the country. India is the 38th market for Apple where it has launched its online store.
Consumers in India can now purchase AppleCare+, which extends warranty on products, and access the trade-in program to get a discount on new hardware purchases. The company said it will also offer customers support through chat or telephone, and let users consult its team of specialists before they make a purchase.
The company is also offering customers the ability to pay for their purchases in monthly instalments. TechNewHero reported in January that the company was planning to open its online store in India in the quarter that ends in September. The company plans to open its first physical retail store in the country next year, it has said.
Jayanth Kolla, chief analyst at consultancy firm Convergence Catalyst, argued that the launch of the Apple’s online store in India is a bigger deal for the company than the consumers in the country.
Apple typically starts investing in marketing, brand building and other investments in a market only after it launches a store there, he told TechNewHero.
Apple does oversee billboards and ads of iPhones and other products that are displayed in India, but it’s the third-party partners that are running and bankrolling them, said Kolla. “Apple might provide some marketing dollars, but those efforts are always led by their partners,” he said.
In recent years, Apple has visibly grown more interested in India, one of the world’s fastest growing smartphones markets. The company’s contract manufacturers today locally assemble the latest generation of iPhone models and some accessories — an effort the company kickstarted two years ago.
The move has allowed Apple to lower prices of some iPhone models in India, where for years the company has passed custom duty charges to customers. The starting price of iPhone 11 Pro Max is $1,487 in India, compared to $1,099 in the U.S. The AirPods Pro, which sells at $249 in the U.S., was made available in India at $341 at the time of launch.
More to follow…