Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

All you need to know about Apple's first-ever store in India

After years of planning and testing, Apple's first retail store in India is opening in Mumbai on April 18, followed by a store in Delhi. The US tech giant is also planning to ramp up local manufacturing

Naandika Tripathi
Published: Apr 17, 2023 03:34:44 PM IST
Updated: Apr 17, 2023 04:18:03 PM IST

All you need to know about Apple's first-ever store in IndiaApple will open its first retail store on April 18 in financial hub of Mumbai

Apple celebrates more than 25 years in India this week. A day before the official inauguration, it previewed Apple BKC today, the first Apple store in India.

Cupertino, California-headquartered Apple is marking a major expansion with the opening of its first Apple Store locations in the country, along with new environmental initiatives and a key milestone in the rapidly growing community of Indian developers. Apple will open its first retail store on April 18 in financial hub of Mumbai, which will be immediately followed by launch of its second official store in Delhi on April 20.

It has been over two decades since Apple opened its first ever store in Virginia, US. Today, Apple has 522 stores across 25 countries and regions worldwide. The opening of the latest store in the Gangnam district in Seoul, South Korea, was announced in a tweet by Apple CEO Tim Cook on March 31.

“At Apple, our mission is to enrich lives and empower people around the world,” said Cook in a statement. “India has such a beautiful culture and an incredible energy, and we’re excited to build on our long-standing history—supporting our customers, investing in local communities, and working together to build a better future with innovations that serve humanity.

During the preview today, Apple said that the store located at Jio World Drive in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) will serve as a space where customers explore Apple products and services, and learn how to get more out of their devices through free ‘Today at Apple’ sessions.

“At Apple, our customers are at the center of everything we do, and our teams are excited to celebrate this wonderful moment with them as we open our first retail store in India,” said Deirdre O’Brien, senior vice president, retail at Apple. “Apple BKC is a reflection of Mumbai’s vibrant culture and brings together the best of Apple in a beautiful, welcoming space for connection and community.”

As part of Apple’s commitment to be 100 percent carbon neutral for its supply chain and products by 2030, all active Indian manufacturing supply chain partners are using 100 percent clean energy for their Apple operations. Building on its work to expand recycled materials across its products, last week Apple announced it will use 100 percent recycled cobalt in all Apple-designed batteries by 2025.

Apple BKC is designed to be one of the most energy-efficient Apple Store locations in the world, with a dedicated solar array and zero reliance on fossil fuels for store operations. The store is operationally carbon neutral, running on 100 percent renewable energy.

All you need to know about Apple's first-ever store in IndiaApple BKC is designed to be one of the most energy-efficient Apple Store locations in the world

Apple began manufacturing iPhone in India in 2017, and since then, the company has worked with suppliers to assemble iPhone models and produce a growing number of components. Apple has three manufacturing partners in India: Foxconn Technology Group, Wistron Corp and Pegatron Corp. The trio together employ around 60,000 workers in India, making models ranging from iPhone 11 to the latest iPhone 14 in the country.

Over the last few years, India has emerged as a key strategic market for the company. Till now, Apple users in India have always purchased all their products from Apple Premium Resellers — third-party stores that acquire a license from Apple. The company also launched its online retail store a few years ago. Its largest contract manufacturer, Foxconn, plans to invest about $700 million on a plant in a southern Indian state to make phone components and possibly iPhones.

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According to Counterpoint Research, ‘Made in India’ shipments from Apple grew 65 percent year-on-year by volume and 162 percent year-on-year by value, taking the brand’s value share to 25 percent in 2022, up from 12 percent in 2021.

Prachir Singh, senior research analyst at Counterpoint Research says, “2020 was a transition year for Apple. In 2019, it captured around one percent of market share in India, and we believe it will cross five percent this year. What we have seen from consumer standpoint is Apple has always been an aspirational brand for Indian consumers. But the price point was the hindrance for people to upgrade their Apple devices. The company is working on various strategies to increase the affordability factor.”

In India, all the imported smartphones carry a custom duty of around 20 percent, and this will go away as the company boosts its production in India. That would make devices much cheaper. Right now, Apple is not just making in India for local consumption but they are exporting as well. The new Apple stores is part of their development strategy to expand their footprints in India, adds Singh.