updated 09:30 am EDT, Fri March 23, 2012
AT&T, Verizon each double Apple figures
The number of Americans buying iPhones from Best Buy is just under the number buying them from Apple itself, according to a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners survey. The firm polled people in December, January, and February to learn where they picked up their devices. Retail stores accounted for 76 percent of iPhone sales, compared to 24 percent online. The ratios were 67 percent and 33 percent during the launch of the iPhone 4S in October.
During the December-February period, Apple represented 15 percent of iPhone sales, comprising 11 percent at retail and 4 percent online. Best Buy took home 13 percent of the total, easily dwarfing all other retailers. Stores like RadioShack and Walmart simply fit within a 3 percent "other" category, which also included people who received an iPhone as a gift without knowing its source.
Most people appear to be buying directly from the two largest US iPhone carriers, AT&T and Verizon, which accounted for 32 percent and 30 percent of the survey group, respectively. Sprint was a relatively marginal party at 7 percent, but has only been selling iPhones since the debut of the 4S.
"Apple Stores and the Apple website are tremendously productive, but they are limited by their relatively small retail footprint," says CIRP's Josh Lowitz. "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 US strategy."