Apple has postponed the opening of its first brick-and-mortar store in India, says a Thursday report by ETTelecom citing senior executives of the company. The store is now scheduled to open in the first quarter of next year, making this the second time Apple has been forced to delay opening plans due to pandemic-related issues, according to the report.
Apple is seeking to open a 22,000-square-foot store at an upscale shopping mall in the teeming financial capital of Mumbai. It was originally slated to open in 2021, the report says, before it was postponed to the fall of this year. Apple's Mumbai store is set to be a flagship location, developed in similar vein to landmark locations in cities including, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and New York.
The opening of Apple's first India store would be a part of the company's broader retail push in the country, where its market share is relatively small compared to the country's size and population. India is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world, but it's also price-sensitive and dominated by Chinese companies such as Xiaomi and Vivo.
CEO Tim Cook announced plans for an Apple store location in India in February 2020. Cook said he's a "huge believer" in the opportunities India presents as the world's second most populous country.
Apple opened an online store for India last September, which brought the company's full range of products and support directly to the country for the first time. The online store was opened as the pandemic forced many physical retail stores to shut. Cook said that the online store had received tremendous support.