The launch of two Apple stores in the country has left customers torn between enhanced experience and cost-cutting.
The launch of two Apple stores in the country has left customers torn between enhanced experience and cost-cutting. Some customers are willing to trade experience in exchange for paying higher for Apple products, but others still prefer online shopping.
A survey conducted by Statista shows only 12 percent of people in India order from the Apple website. The data is particularly important in the context of Apple’s new store in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Mumbai, and Apple’s new store in Saket, Delhi as both stores are selling products that are priced the same as the Apple website, which is significantly higher than the prices available at local vendors or online marketplaces.
Kulsoom Najaf was present at the Apple BKC launch on April 18, traveling all the way from Hyderabad to Mumbai and waiting for more than four hours. As a brand enthusiast, Kulsoom said spending additional money at an Apple store should be a no-brainer for her.
“Why wouldn’t anybody buy from an Apple store? It can guarantee maximum support to any product it sells and the experts at Apple Genius Bar provide you a detailed description of the products and explains them,” she said.
However, other potential Apple customers do not want to trade the experience for additional money as products can be available for much cheaper rates at local vendors or e-commerce outlets such as Flipkart and Amazon.
Yen Sonani is a resident of Mumbai, who had attended the event. “I did not buy anything as much. I prefer buying Apple products from online marketplaces as they are much cheaper and offer various offers if you use certain credit cards,” he said.
Sonani added that he would not mind buying from Apple BKC, as long as the price difference between the store and the online marketplaces is lower. “If the difference is not too much and within the Rs. 3,000-4,000 range, then I would buy from Apple BKC, otherwise I prefer online marketplaces.”
Apple launched its first store in India in Mumbai on April 18, with Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook inaugurating the Apple Store at BKC. The following day, the store at Select City Walk Mall, Saket was launched in Delhi, with Cook once again unveiling it. Following the launch of the two stores, Apple stores are now available in 23 countries across the world.
However, Apple is still yet to dominate the Indian market. As per the same data from Statista, only 11 percent of the urban population uses the Apple iPhone. With pricing as a key factor, most Indians prefer buying products from other outlets, including Amazon and Flipkart.
Yash Atishay is another local Mumbai resident who attended the event. He takes a middle ground on the issue, suggesting the consumer behavior surrounding Apple products should defer from one product to another, as they are unique in their own way.
“I think if I was buying some consumer product like an iPhone or AirPods and knew exactly what I want, then I would order from whichever website is cheaper,” he said. “But if I am not sure what I want to buy and need to get a look and feel or the product or if I want to buy something like a Mac Studio, then I may prefer going to Apple stores.”
In the case of the Mac Studio, he explained, “These products are not for an average consumer but are for professionals, who depend on these tools for getting things done. These are far bigger purchases both in terms of money and usage. Since they are meant to be used, I would go to the store, use these products, get a feel of them.”
Abinaya Kishore, a Tech Expert at Wiingy, said that customers have historically been very rational when it comes to buying a phone. That is why they still prefer online shops, as they offer the same product at a much lower price.
Ranjan Kar, a consumer behavior analyst, said Apple is a company that always stressed user experience. “Apple has a created aura of seamless experience, architecture and complete satisfaction around their stores. Just visiting the store is a pilgrimage for many,” he said.
But India is a very price-sensitive market and there’s seldom any discount at Apple stores, which drives people to buy from other outlets, Kar added.
However, Abinaya added that the exposure to the Apple Store will only grow in India, as the company looks to further increase their footprint in the country. Tim Cook, in a recent media interaction, has admitted that he is ‘bullish on India’.
Featured Image Courtesy: Kulsoom Najaf