iPhone buyers prefer mobile carriers to Apple Stores to purchase a new phone

Jean J. Sanders

When a new iPhone is released, where do you purchase it? While some would say “the Apple Store,” this is in fact the second place most buyers go to. According to a survey conducted by CIRP (via 9to5Mac), US customers usually prefer a mobile carrier to buy a new iPhone.

This analysis include both physical and online stores when accounting the most popular places to buy a new iPhone. Here’s the list:

  • Mobile carrier stores and online: 67%
  • Apple Retail: 24%
  • Other: 5%
  • Best Buy 4%

With that, CIRP shows that more than 75% of iPhone purchases in the US aren’t made directly with Apple, but, in fact, in third-party stores.

More than 75% of US iPhone sales are outside of the Apple retail universe and that is a weak spot for Apple. When a customer selects their new iPhone – the model, storage capacity, and even color – an event that only occurs every two or three or more years for most consumers, most sales are managed by a carrier salesperson or processed on a carrier website, all out of Apple’s careful control.

Of course, a carrier salesperson or website will direct customers to accessories and extended warranties, though they likely are not giving preference to Apple’s offerings as Apple certainly would.

CIRP analysts believe this is a “weak spot for Apple,” although there are a few reasons why someone would prefer to buy a new iPhone outside the Apple Store. First of all, you can get better trade-in values. In addition, carriers usually offer very generous discounts when subscribing to a plan for at least a year. Last but not least, most people are not trying to find the latest iPhone, but a newer model to replace the one they stayed with for years.

While this customers’ movement don’t change the amount of iPhones being sold, it’s a point of interest for Apple to understand how they can concentrate more of its sales in its retails and not with third-party sellers.

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