India is the world's second largest smartphone market, second only to China. And now, a recent report suggests that Google might be thinking to do the same by opening stores in India to boost Pixel sales. TheEconomic Times also reports that two other "prominent" malls in india have seen requests to open Google retail space.
It is pertinent to point out that it is not as if Google will be going the brick and mortar model for the first time.
The tentative timeline for the physical Google stores is in the latter part of 2018. It is said that the company was pleased with the response received to its pop up centers opened recently in Mumbai and Delhi-NCR regions to showcase the newly launched Pixel 2 smartphones. "They got a flavor of how physical stores are also important because you can't explain numerous features online", a top mall executive told the site.
Google might also set up shop in the country to sell their other devices, such as the Google Home smart speakers, Chromecast streaming devices, View virtual reality (VR) headsets, and their Pixel laptops. The company is also said to have hired a senior Apple executive to be part of its expansion plans.
Spice had said it planned to open 50 AndroidLand outlets in 18 months but the venture folded up with the two stores in Select Citywalk in Delhi and The Great India Place Mall in Noida shuttered due to poor sales. More malls are perhaps receiving enquiries for setting up of stores by Google.
It is not clear whether Google is planning to the same in other countries or not, but in the US, Google already has two pop-up stores in New York City and Los Angeles. That's the same strategy Xiaomi followed earlier this year, and the brand is now seeing over 25% of sales from the offline market.
What is not clear, however, is the exact route the company will take to set these stores up. The company does not have strong offline channels to market its products and it has been overshadowed by the likes of Apple and Samsung.
Apple is seeking a single-brand licence to open own stores in India and has sought concessions including duty exemption on manufacturing and servicing, components, capital equipment and consumables for 15 years.