Apple plan to set up Fifth Avenue -like stores in India
The Apple-Samsung war in India is set to intensify and spill over to the streets and malls. The maker of the iPhone plans to set up a flagship Apple Store in the country — on the lines of the famous one on Fifth Avenue in New York — and a string of smaller outlets.
Leading real estate brokerage companies are already scouting for 15,000-20,000 square feet on high streets and in malls, prompting rival Samsung Electronics to look for space to set up a similar flagship outlet and revamp its existing 1,100 smartphone brand stores.
Three senior industry executives said brokerage firms are looking for prime retail locations in Mumbai, the National Capital Region, Bengaluru and Pune for Apple’s first phase of company-owned stores. The company wants to set up most of the Apple Stores of over 2,000-3,000 sqft in India, including space for technical support and holding small workshops.
The flagship store will have the same design and architectural grandeur for which Apple is famous and even holds several patents. Samsung, too, has started negotiating with malls where it has stores, for prime locations and has indicated that it wants to set up a few smartphone stores of over 2,000-2,500 sqft, compared with the existing 1,000 sqft.
The Korean company plans to set up at least one flagship store in India of over 15,000 sq ft on the lines of its ‘Samsung D’Light’ located in the Samsung headquarters building in Seoul, which showcases and sells all its products under a single roof.
“The retail war between Apple and Samsung will further intensify, since getting prime location is a problem which both of these brands will soon realise, considering not all space owners may show interest since these are low-margin products,” said the CEO of a leading mall in New Delhi. An Apple spokesman said the company has made no announcements about its stores.
Emails sent to Samsung did not elicit any response till press time. Apple recently re-filed its foreign direct investment application to set up company-owned stores in the country after the government had sought some clarifications. Chief executive officer Tim Cook recently talked about investing more in India to gain a lead globally.
Samsung is yet to decide whether it will file an FDI application for retail stores since it already has over 2,000 exclusive stores in India under the franchisee model selling smartphones, televisions and home appliances. Of these stores, about 1,100 are dedicated to smartphones. An executive said Samsung does not want to antagonise its trade partners in India and, hence, FDI is not a priority.
Both Apple and Samsung are fighting to dominate the premium smartphone segment in India, where handsets are priced over Rs 30,000. Recent market share reports have failed to identify a clear leader in the segment. Samsung last week launched its flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge in India and Apple is expected to unveil a new mid-segment smartphone on Monday, which analysts said will be positioned for emerging markets such as India, Brazil and Russia.