Apple has finally opened its first retail store in India, which was inaugurated by none other than CEO Tim Cook. The store, located in Mumbai’s Jio World Drive mall, drew in about 300 people on opening day, many of whom eagerly waited in line for hours to be among the first to enter. The launch event featured local music and folk dancers, and visitors were treated to the opportunity to take selfies with Cook himself.
A Different Kind of Shopping Experience
For many Apple fans, buying from an Apple store is more than just a normal shopping experience. It’s a chance to be a part of a community and show off their love for the brand. Some visitors at the Mumbai store even wore T-shirts in the style of co-founder Steve Jobs and had their hair cut in the shape of an Apple logo. One fan even brought a version of the first Apple computer launched in 1984.
Others, like 23-year-old Aan Shah, travelled from across the country to be at the launch. “The vibe here is just different,” he said. “It’s not like buying from some normal store. There’s just no comparison. It’s so exciting.” Shah’s love for Apple took him to store openings as a young student in New York and Boston, where he once had the chance to meet Cook.
Affordable for Few in India
While Apple’s pricey phones may not be affordable for many in India, the launch of the retail store shows the company’s commitment to expanding its market share in the country. Currently, Apple accounts for just 3% of the smartphone market in India, but as Indian consumers increasingly look to upgrade their devices, the demand for glitzier models with richer feature sets is growing.
As Apple pushes to make India a bigger manufacturing base, some of its products, including iPhones, are being assembled in the country by Taiwanese contract electronics manufacturers Foxconn and Wistron Corp. The opening of the Mumbai store follows the launch of Apple’s online store in India last year, as the company seeks to strengthen its presence in the country.
The launch event in Mumbai was just the beginning, as a second store in Delhi is set to open on Thursday. Cook is also expected to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the deputy IT minister later this week. For Apple fans in India, the launch of the retail store marks a new chapter in their relationship with the brand, and a chance to be a part of a global community of Apple enthusiasts.