Apple has postponed its arrangements to launch its first offline store in India because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has confirmed. CEO Tim Cook last year announced that the first physical Apple stores would open in the nation beginning 2021. The Cupertino company has been working to establish its native retail presence in the Indian market for some time. Last September, the company started its online store to begin its retail business in the country. It was considered as a strategic move by Apple to stand against traditional e-commerce players including Amazon and Flipkart that also sell devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.
Without specifying details on when the delay will be in place, Apple confirmed on Friday that it has postponed the launch of its first physical store in the country. The development was first reported by The Indian Express.
Apple has been in the headlines for working away at its physical stores in the country throughout the previous few months. In February last year, CEO Tim Cook confirmed the plans and communicated that the organization needed to have its local presence in the Indian retail area.
“I don’t want somebody else to run the brand for us,” Cook had said while responding to shareholders during Apple’s annual shareholder meeting.
At present, Apple sells its devices in the country through distributors who operate under a franchise retail network. The company, however, wants to go deeper into the Indian market by establishing its physical stores.
The government enables local retailing for players including Apple by facilitating the past 30% neighborhood sourcing standard in single-brand retail (SBRT). That step helped Apple with launching its online retail store in September. It came along with direct customer support and benefits including trade-in and back-to-school discounts.
During an earnings call in January, Cook had uncovered that Apple multiplied its business in India in the December quarter contrasted with the year-ago counterpart. He had also shown confidence in proceeding with the development over time.
Regardless, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have affected Apple’s retail plans in India as well as around the world as it needed to close the greater part of its stores in key business sectors including the US and China for quite a while — very much like other tech giants including Google and Microsoft. The latter even permanently closed its retail stores shortly after the coronavirus outbreak emerged around the world.
Apple, however, appears to have the potential to get its retail plans on track as it has already reopened all its stores in the US and most around the world. The organization’s benefit additionally almost multiplied to an astounding $21.7 billion (generally Rs. 1,60,829 crores) in the last quarter as the lockdowns eased in many nations.