Following in the footsteps of the United States, where it was launched at the beginning of the month, the Apple iPad is proving a big hit in Romania as well. Several local online stores boast an offer with the device, and are capitalizing a great deal from its sale. Of course, local sales are not comparable with a market such as the USA, but some of these stores have already run out of stock and will bring more following orders placed by buyers.
The long-awaited Apple iPad was launched on the US market on April 3. The tablet is available at the moment only in the WiFi version, with the launch of the 3G version still to come.
Due to demand, which exceeded expectations in the USA, Apple announced it would put the launch of the device in Europe back a month, to the end of May.
Although the firm delivered over 500,000 products in the first week that the product went on sale, demand is much higher than expected and is likely to continue to outpace supply in the coming weeks, announced the group in a press release. Apple will start to receive online pre-orders from Europe on May 10, when it will also announce the price at which the model will sell.
iStyle Bucharest, the legal partner of the official distribution channel in Romania, a company which is Apple Premium Reseller and Apple Authorized Service Provider and certified by Apple Europe, has announced it will not offer warranty and service for iPad products that are not bought through the official channels, even if they are purchased from Romania with a fiscal invoice.
“We are not allowed to support in any way any kind of sale of products that are sold outside the official distribution channel,” read a press release from iStyle Bucharest.
However, the tablet is already available in Romania in several online stores. Demand was so high that stocks ran out in some of them.
Three of the stores under the umbrella of FitDistribution already have the iPad in their offer: PCfun.ro, PCGarage.ro and ShopIT.ro. Other online stores which are selling the tablet are eMag, QuickMobile.ro and Marketonline.ro.
“The iPad went on sale in our stores as soon as it was available in Romania (…) There were some supply problems, which is somewhat normal for every launch of a new product. Airline traffic disruption due to the volcanic ash may have partially been to blame for these discontinuities in supply (the period coincided with the first iPad deliveries),” Marius Ghenea, owner of FitDistribution, tells Business Review.
The businessman says that Romanian consumers’ interest in Apple products has increased constantly over the last few years, starting from the launch of the iPod but especially since the release of iPhone mobile phones.
The response of the Romanian consumer was dubbed natural by Raluca Grebenisan, Marketing Manager of QuickMobile: the stocks ran out.
“We expected such a reaction given the media attention this product had garnered long before it was launched on the market. It is a novelty as far as last-generation gadgets are concerned and it is normal that such a product is very much in demand,” she says. The iPad went on sale in the QuickMobile store on April 7, along with the first reception of 30 Apple iPads. Since then, the company has sold 290 in total.
“The number of orders is continually growing from one week to another, which is why we decided to increase the number of products we bring weekly to our stocks. Obviously, if the stock sells out, we can bring the iPad based on orders from customers in a relatively short time, given that we receive the product in stock weekly,” says Grebenisan.
“We ensure warranty through QuickService, our server. The commercial warranty that the producer gives (from the moment the product is launched officially) is 12 months, and the legal warranty of conformity granted according to the legislation in force in Romania is 24 months. All our products have invoice and warranty certificate,” adds Grebenisan.
The store can also offer Life Warranty, which clients may take up for the entire life cycle of the product. This covers the service of the product after the regular 24-month term expires.
The iPad is available in three price brackets in the Quickmobile store: Apple iPad 16 Gb – RON 2,698 (VAT included), Apple iPad 32 Gb – RON 3,298 (VAT included) and Apple iPad 64 Gb – RON 3,798 (VAT included).
Prices in the online stores PCfun.ro and PCGarage.ro start from RON 2,192 if the buyer also signs up for a mobile internet service from Vodafone.
According to Ghenea, the Romanian market is becoming more mature, which means that, economic crisis or not, customers are making decisions after weighing up the price and value of the product. This does not necessarily mean that the buyer is going for cheaper products, but merely choosing items that offer the best price-value ratio.
In fact, the financial crisis is not driving users from more expensive to cheaper products, quite the contrary in this case.
“Slowly, the mentality of Romanian consumers is changing. We are at last comprehending that it is much more efficient to acquire products not necessarily for the brand but for the quality, and because we are certain they have been brought to the market according to standards, products which are accompanied by documents which attest their authenticity even if they have a higher price, rather than throwing the money out of the window on dodgy cheap products,” says Grebenisan.