In October, India overtook the U.S. as the world's second largest smartphone market behind China. The company now wants to change this by committing to a full-scale brick and mortar business in the country by opening various Google stores.
Though, it is still unclear when or how Google may open stores, The Economic Times quoted that Google can go down the single-brand retailing license, which will give the company complete ownership, or the franchisee route, which allows others to officially sell Google products. 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. Initially, the company plans to set up two stores in India, one in New Delhi and the other in Mumbai. Google has already hired a senior Apple executive to roll out the plan. Sources familiar with the matter suggest a final decision is likely to be taken soon and the first Google stores in India could be launched in the second half of next year. As per the information available, Google will open stores by Q4 2018. "They got a flavour of how physical stores are also important because you can't explain numerous features online".
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Opening Google's stores will not just boot the Pixel smartphones sales, it is being expected that they will sell Chromebook Pixel, Google Home, Google Home Mini, Chromecast, Chromecast Ultra, and Daydream View as well.
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This retail expansion comes as more than a dozen pop-up stores opened in recent months throughout the country proved successful.
Offline stores are important for Indian market where flagship phones cost much. Apple, however, has been lobbying hard in India for single-brand retail licence to be able to open its own stores. It hasn't been selling all that well in India mainly due to the strong presence of Apple, Samsung as well as Chinese players Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo and Vivo, all of which sell online as well as offline. Back in 2013, Google had tied up with Spice Group for "AndroidLand" outlets, which was dedicated to Android smartphones from multiple brands.