Apple will make its anticipated online store operational in India starting the third quarter of this year, according to a report. The Cupertino company was earlier speculated to start selling devices online in the country in the first quarter. Last year, the central government eased rules that had pushed foreign companies including Apple to source at least 30 percent of their production locally. It also allowed single brand retailers to set up online stores before establishing their physical shops. That move encouraged Apple to look for its online presence before opening its brick-and-mortar stores in the country.
The quarter between July and September is the new tentative deadline for establishing Apple's online store in India, reports TechCrunch, citing a person familiar with the development. The company is said to be working on logistics of setting up the online store, and CEO Tim Cook would arrive in person to make its announcement.
In addition to the online store, Apple is in plans to open its first official physical store in India that is reported to be situated in Mumbai. It might not be ready by this year, the report notes.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the report.
At present, Apple sells its products through e-commerce portals such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Paytm Mall. However, the company often faces an impact on its revenues through online sales in the country as these portals offer Apple products with heavy discounts. The company also offers its products through various third-party offline retailers in the country.
In August last year, Apple expressed its interest towards initiating its native retail operations in India.
“We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Modi and his team to make this possible and we look forward to one day welcoming customers to India's first Apple retail store. It will take us some time to get our plans underway and we'll have more to announce at a future date,” the company had said in a press statement at that time, without specifying any concrete timelines.
A report by Bloomberg in late August last year suggested that Apple would start online sales of its devices in India “within months.” The company led by Tim Cook, however, appears to have delayed the plans.
Cook during the earnings call on Tuesday highlighted that Apple registered double-digit sales growth in India for iPhone models in the holiday quarter (October-December period). The company garnered a total revenue of $56 billion (roughly Rs. 3,98,600 crores) from its iPhone models worldwide.