In October, India overtook the United States as the world's second largest smartphone market behind China.
Google is keen to set up brick and mortar stores in India, according to a new report from Economic Times. According to ET, two "prominent" malls in India have received requests to open Google retail space.
Since its establishment, Google has always been keen on protecting its image and that may serve as an explanation as to why the company at times declines to make comments on rumors and speculations. The brick and mortar stores, or "experience centers", could be launched towards the latter half of 2018.More news: Blink, A Smart Camera and Doorbell Startup, Bought By Amazon
Google has not been particularly concerned about the sales performance of its latest Pixel devices in India and the company has been lax in its promotion strategy. "They got a flavour of how physical stores are also important because you can't explain numerous features online", said a top executive at a mall where the company had a pop-up store for more than a month. Besides the Pixel smartphones, these upcoming Google stores will also showcase other hardware products like Chromecast, and Daydream View VR headset among others. The search giant hired a key Apple executive to help with the expansion, and plans to open "experience stores" where users can try out the new features. The stores, called AndroidLand sold Android flavored handsets from Samsung, Sony, HTC, Lenovo, Xolo, Micromax, Spice and Karbonn.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. More malls are perhaps receiving enquiries for setting up of stores by Google. The source says that they got good traction and so, maybe this could have encouraged Google to open retail outlets in India. They had some outlets in the country in collaboration with Spice Connect, but they shut them soon very quickly.
It's still unclear whether Google will own and operate the stores itself, or whether it'll go the franchise route instead. The company does not have strong offline channels to market its products and it has been overshadowed by the likes of Apple and Samsung. Getting a single-brand license gives Google more control over the design of its stores, but the process itself is a lengthy affair - Apple has been trying for over a year to acquire a license.