In October, India overtook the USA as the world's second largest smartphone market behind China. So, to boost the sales of its Pixel smartphones, the USA firm is considering opening Google physical stores in the country, according to The Economic Times. Larger smartphone makes like Google, however, have not really had a hands-on approach, until now. Indians are more inclined towards the highly visible and affordable names like Samsung, OnePlus and Xiaomi.
India is a huge smartphone market and nearly every other manufacturer, apart from a few from China, wants to build a strong presence here.
In addition to opening pop-up locations in Los Angeles and NY for the 2017 Made by Google lineup, the company opened a series of similar stores in India.
There are 1.2 billion mobile subscribers in India, and players like Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Apple have a healthy lead in smartphone marketshare. The third person said Google had hired a senior Apple executive as part of its plan.
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Google has been financially backing up small companies in India, and also providing them proper mentorship from top technology companies in Silicon Valley. The positive response from these pop-up stores is being cited as one of the main motivating factors to open permanent stores. According to ET, two "prominent" malls in India have received requests to open Google retail space.
These pop-up stores helped Google to understand that physical stores are important to explain things clearly that is not possible via online videos and advertisements. If Google does decide to go ahead with the plan, the "experience centres" could be used to sell more than just the Pixel smartphones.
This retail expansion comes as more than a dozen pop-up stores opened in recent months throughout the country proved successful. Back in 2013, Google had tied up with Spice Group for "AndroidLand" outlets, which was dedicated to Android smartphones from multiple brands. The plan was to open 50 stores, but the venture died with only two of them opened. They had some outlets in the country in collaboration with Spice Connect, but they shut them soon very quickly.