Best Buy sells nearly as many iPhones as Apple does directly

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


While most iPhone buyers make their purchase from their wireless carrier, Best Buy plays nearly as important a role in iPhone sales as Apple's own direct sales, according to a new survey.



Consumer Intelligence Research Partners surveyed American iPhone buyers from December 2011 to February 2012 to find out where they purchased their handset. It found that Apple's retail stores accounted for 11 percent of all U.S. iPhone sales, while the online store represented another 4 percent, according to All Things D.



Combined, Apple accounted for 15 percent of domestic iPhone sales, which was only two points better than Best Buy. The survey found that 13 percent of customers bought their iPhone from Best Buy.



Sales direct from carriers remain the most popular choice for customers, as AT&T represented 32 percent of sales and Verizon took 30 percent. Sprint, a smaller U.S. carrier that just began selling the iPhone last year, accounted for 7 percent of domestic iPhone sales.



The survey also found that customers prefer to buy their iPhone in person rather than online, with 76 percent of iPhone sales at retail stores and 24 percent on the Web. Online sales were slightly higher at 33 percent for the launch of the iPhone 4S last October,a number skewed because of preorders.











"Apple Stores and the Apple Web site are tremendously productive, but they are limited by their relatively small footprint," CIRP partner and co-founder Josh Lowitz said to AllThingsD. "There are four times as many best buy stores and probably 20 times as many AT&T, Verizon and Sprint stores, so aggressive distribution through all these channels is critical to Apple's U.S. strategy."



The survey also reveals that Apple's other retail partners do not play as significant a role in iPhone sales, as they collectively accounted for just 3 percent of sales among those surveyed. Apple's iPhone retail partners include Walmart, the largest chain in the U.S., as well as Target, Radio Shack, and Sam's Club.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    I'm not sure why this is a surprise.



    As I would have expected, the majority of phones are sold through the carriers. For the retail sales, consider that Best Buy has 1250 stores (mostly in the US) while there are only about 250 Apple Stores in the U.S. So Apple stores sell 5 times as many phones per store.



    Sounds about right.
  • Reply 2 of 26
    bearbear Posts: 27member
    Of course survey results are only as good as the data collected. How many people did they actually talk to? Did they somehow not call people likely to use Walmart or Target?



    And what is the margin of error for a survey like this?



    Yes, the data is interesting, but is it accurate enough to be useful?
  • Reply 3 of 26
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Walmart it sells for $188. Why does everyone not buy it there?
  • Reply 4 of 26
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


    Walmart it sells for $188. Why does everyone not buy it there?



    Because I would rather spend the extra 12 bucks and not have to deal with the hassle of contracting the plague by stepping into walmart.
  • Reply 5 of 26
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


    Walmart it sells for $188. Why does everyone not buy it there?



    Because not everyone is driven purely by price.



    You're going to spend well over $1,000 over the life of the phone. Saving $12 is insignificant - and I often spend more than that to avoid Walmart.
  • Reply 6 of 26
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,234member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


    Walmart it sells for $188. Why does everyone not buy it there?



    Because most people who buy apple products usually have more than 2 nickles to rub together. The reason the entire industry is upset with Apple because they are selling to the higher end customer with disposable income, leaving the rest of the industry selling to the people who have to shop at wal-mart and unless they get a phone free they would not own one.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Too bad Best Buy doesn't have the most knowledgeable sales staff.
  • Reply 8 of 26
    brutus009brutus009 Posts: 356member
    When I bought my first iPhone (the 3GS), I wasn't sure that the Apple store was going to be able to do everything for me. I half expected I'd have to walk over to the AT&T store afterwards to finish my transaction. Perhaps people just aren't sure (or aware) that the Apple store can complete phone transactions.



    I've made all of my purchases directly from the Apple Store, except for my 13" Air (2010), which I special ordered online for the extra RAM.
  • Reply 9 of 26
    jdsonicejdsonice Posts: 156member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


    Walmart it sells for $188. Why does everyone not buy it there?



    I always buy my Apple products from an Apple store. They have the best service and support and down the line if I need after sales support I am guaranteed of excellent service.



    Walmart is great when I am buying items less than $5 but anything else I prefer some other place.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


    Walmart it sells for $188. Why does everyone not buy it there?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Because I would rather spend the extra 12 bucks and not have to deal with the hassle of contracting the plague by stepping into walmart.



    Here is the thing about Walmart. Have you ever seen their in store display? All the other phones, tablets, while secured, are right there for you to touch. iPhone and iPad? Under glass. Then, the signage may say the most current (though not always) but the product doesn't match. It there is anything more than the stand under the glass. So presentation also plays a part.



    I personally thing every store would like to see Apple gone. They have little to no say in price, etc. and they only carry the stuff because it is so popular they can't afford not to. They just hope while there you buy something else.



    I got my iPhone 4 from Verizon (preorder) but plan to get my next (the new??) iPhone from Apple directly.
  • Reply 11 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bear View Post


    Of course survey results are only as good as the data collected. How many people did they actually talk to? Did they somehow not call people likely to use Walmart or Target?



    And what is the margin of error for a survey like this?



    Yes, the data is interesting, but is it accurate enough to be useful?



    Yes, it is hard to believe, so let's guess as to reasons why it must be false.



    Maybe Best Buy is reporting how many units were shipped, instead of sold?



    Maybe the survey had biased questions?
  • Reply 12 of 26
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,294member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    I'm not sure why this is a surprise.



    As I would have expected, the majority of phones are sold through the carriers. For the retail sales, consider that Best Buy has 1250 stores (mostly in the US) while there are only about 250 Apple Stores in the U.S. So Apple stores sell 5 times as many phones per store.



    Sounds about right.



    Then the iPhone must literally sell itself. In my neck of the woods (near St. Louis) there are two Best Buy stores within 5 miles north and south. In both stores the Android displays are up front and in your face when you walk in the door. You actually have to go looking for the iPhone display. If you stand around and listen to the sales "associates" talking to people you wouldn't know the iPhone or iPad even existed. Same old same old for Best Buy in my neighborhood.
  • Reply 13 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jdsonice View Post


    I always buy my Apple products from an Apple store. They have the best service and support and down the line if I need after sales support I am guaranteed of excellent service.




    When you buy from a big box, you often get lenient return and repair policies. YOu get an extra layer off customer service. You can always go to the Apple Store for service, but buying from a third party gives you extras you would not otherwise get. Best Buy, for example, has a coupon promo based upon your total purchases.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,189member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    As I would have expected, the majority of phones are sold through the carriers.



    Most first time buyers believe you have to go to the carrier because they don't know that Apple or even Best Buy can activate the phone on your contract



    Quote:



    For the retail sales, consider that Best Buy has 1250 stores (mostly in the US) while there are only about 250 Apple Stores in the U.S. So Apple stores sell 5 times as many phones per store.



    Sounds about right.





    Yep



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bear View Post


    Of course survey results are only as good as the data collected. How many people did they actually talk to? Did they somehow not call people likely to use Walmart or Target?



    And what is the margin of error for a survey like this?



    Yes, the data is interesting, but is it accurate enough to be useful?



    I had similar thoughts.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    When you buy from a big box, you often get lenient return and repair policies.



    Not always. Best Buy is the only outlet that might be authorized to service the iPhone. otherwise you must go to Apple. And the return policies are somewhat tied to your contract. Sure Best Buy or even Apple might let you return it 45 days later but they will do nothing in regards to any ETF etc from your carrier.



    So while you are correct about other items, with phones of any brand it's not always the case that a Big Box is better
  • Reply 15 of 26
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


    Walmart it sells for $188. Why does everyone not buy it there?



    Walmart is disgusting.



    I'd probably have to use $12 worth of disinfectant soap and shampoo to get clean after I've stepped foot in a Walmart.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post








    Not always. Best Buy is the only outlet that might be authorized to service the iPhone. otherwise you must go to Apple. And the return policies are somewhat tied to your contract. Sure Best Buy or even Apple might let you return it 45 days later but they will do nothing in regards to any ETF etc from your carrier.



    So while you are correct about other items, with phones of any brand it's not always the case that a Big Box is better







    Good info. Thanks.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,561member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    Then the iPhone must literally sell itself. In my neck of the woods (near St. Louis) there are two Best Buy stores within 5 miles north and south. In both stores the Android displays are up front and in your face when you walk in the door. You actually have to go looking for the iPhone display. If you stand around and listen to the sales "associates" talking to people you wouldn't know the iPhone or iPad even existed. Same old same old for Best Buy in my neighborhood.



    Do they still do that? Last time I was in a BB I thought they had the iPhones up front.



    But I do agree with the general sentiment; my surprise was the low percentage of phones sold direct by the carriers. With the 4S, they clearly had better and more accessible stock than the Apple Stores; I could walk in on Christmas Eve and buy one at an ATT store less than a mile away from an Apple Store.



    I am curious though if the carrier stores include their "affiliate" resellers.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    Too bad Best Buy doesn't have the most knowledgeable sales staff.



    That's an understatement. While it may be anecdotal, I recall a sales person instructing someone to purchase a new hard drive because their computer was infected with malware. They called it a virus, but I doubt these people would know the difference. Anyway I know it's Windows, but either way they're reinstalling. The only real reason you would zero out the drive is so that it can check for bad sectors, and I would do that with new drives too (and yes I do that on macs).





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    Then the iPhone must literally sell itself. In my neck of the woods (near St. Louis) there are two Best Buy stores within 5 miles north and south. In both stores the Android displays are up front and in your face when you walk in the door. You actually have to go looking for the iPhone display. If you stand around and listen to the sales "associates" talking to people you wouldn't know the iPhone or iPad even existed. Same old same old for Best Buy in my neighborhood.



    The retail margins might be better on those devices. I have no idea. The iphone is pretty iconic. With Android it's a collection. Not everyone would understand if you refer to a specific model or series within this collection.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,200member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post


    Walmart is disgusting.



    I'd probably have to use $12 worth of disinfectant soap and shampoo to get clean after I've stepped foot in a Walmart.



    Not to mention that I'd be burning at least that much in gas to get to the nearest Walmart store anyways.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I'm surprised Apple's B&M and online stores are so low. I would have expected them to be the largest distributor.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


    Walmart it sells for $188. Why does everyone not buy it there?



    I have nothing against Wal-Mart but an $11 savings isn't enough for me to park in the huge parking lot, walk to the back of the store, hope they have the model I want, and hope I can find someone to sell me the device in a reasonable amount of time. It just never occurs to me to shop there for non-accessory CE.
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