Apple and Authorized Online Dealer now offer Super-Fast iPhone & Trade-In Delivery Service in China as COVID-19 caution remains
According to a new CNBC report this morning, smartphone makers in China including Apple and Huawei are turning to super-fast deliveries and even trade-ins at the door of consumers’ homes as shoppers remain cautious about visiting busy stores in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Last month, JD.com, one of China’s largest e-commerce firms and rival to Alibaba, launched a trade-in service for Apple products that can be done at a customer’s doorstep. The program includes Apple’s recently-launched iPad Pro and MacBook Air as well as iPhones. Usually, such trade-in programs require shoppers to go to physical stores.
Meituan, a Chinese firm most known for food deliveries, signed a deal with Huawei franchise stores. Users in three cities — Beijing, Shanghai and Wuxi — are now able to buy Huawei’s new P40 smartphone via the Meituan app and have it delivered to their residence. The P40 went on sale on April 8 in China. Meituan deliveries can come in 30 minutes depending on a user’s distance to the store.
Meituan is in talks with other smartphone vendors including Vivo. Whether Apple is another candidate for such a service is unknown at this time as the company doesn't announce deals until they're officially concluded.
One of the effects of the coronavirus in China was the shutting down of retail stores for a long period of time after the Lunar New Year holiday in late January. Apple’s stores only fully re-opened in March. Shutdowns and other measures meant to contain the virus kept people indoors for a long time.
Nicole Peng, vice president of mobility at market research firm Canalys said that built "pent-up demand" from consumers during that time.
Despite that, both Xiaomi and Huawei went ahead with flagship smartphone launches and Apple did the same with its iPad and MacBook Air releases.
Peng said that industry players have been telling her that their offline channels or physical stores, have been "recovering faster than they expected" with the retail market seeing a "heavy bounce back" since the end of February.
Peng added that "The market is starting to see COVID-19′s effects on the economy itself ... So I’m not quite sure this demand is going to last. Hence it’s important for smartphone makers to test and try many different methods to reach out to consumers."
Exploring more methods to reach consumers in China could be very important for companies like Huawei and Apple given how crucial a market it is for both firms.
After the prolonged shutdown of stores and with the coronavirus impacting the company’s other major international markets, Apple will be hoping these new consumer initiatives can help boost sales of its key products.
The report further noted that JD.com is locked in a fierce battle with Alibaba for share of China’s e-commerce market. The company is best-known for its fast delivery service, which it is now trying to use in its smartphone trade-in programs. For more on this, read the full CNBC report.
On Wednesday Patently Apple posted a report titled "Some online Stores in China, like JD.com are selling iPhones at a discount. Is this going to be a trend or something short lived?" In light of today's news, it would appear that Apple was giving JD more incentives to promote their fast delivery and trade-in service.