Apple is all geared up to reopen about 100 more of its retail stores in the US by the end of this week. This will put the active retail outlets in the country at roughly 130 out of 271 stores spread out across 21 states in the US. With the idea of generating revenues and transitioning into a post COVID-19 world, Apple is planning to open its stores in a phase wise manner to ensure customer convenience and precaution at the same time. Most of the Apple stores will allow only curbside pickup, while some others are expected to permit in-store service and sales.
More than half of Apple's 510 worldwide retail stores are located across the US, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a large majority of locations to be closed since March. The company has already resumed retail operations in some states where the State lockdown orders have been relaxed or lifted. These include stores in Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, and South Carolina that were part of the first phase of reopening of the Apple Store that started earlier this May. Apple has also started reopening its stores worldwide slowly, starting with its 42 locations in mainland China as countries have relaxed lockdown measures.
As part of the worldwide lockdown, the company had to shut down its on-site repair operations in March itself, which meant some customers had to wait to pick up products which were locked up or could not be easily fixed and returned by mail. However, with more stores reopening, Apple will now allow customers to come back in to pick up devices, either via curbside pickup or in-store service, depending on the location.
This pandemic has led to a steady decline in the disposable incomes of your average consumers. This decline particularly affects the premium product companies, like Apple. As Apple opens more of its retail stores, it has become clearer that for the next few months, they will be focusing more on customer service and repairs than on launching new products. The consumerist culture that waved across the western world has been shook hard by this pandemic, only time will tell how the world comes out of this havoc.