Tim Cook would be looking for a way to be able to sell more iPhones through the Apple Store, rather than through partner operators, but according to an analysis by the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners it could be considered a difficult undertaking.

In the United States, Apple has approximately 250 retail stores, compared with more than 10,000 third-party outlets, which resell Apple devices. In addition, Apple’s retail stores are very busy and perhaps need to hire additional staff or open new locations.

“We don’t know exactly how Apple can realistically achieve Cook’s goals, but goals have to be set, as we can’t see stores handle more customers and sell more products than there are,” CIRP co-founder Michael Levin said.

As CIRP noted, when Apple launches a new iPhone, its stores are running at capacity, canceling vacation periods and hiring more staff part-time, pushing the percentage of iPhone sales through the Apple Store, from 20 percent to 50 percent.

One problem for Apple is that many iPhone owners still see the Apple Store as a place to get service and not to buy an iDevice. Research shows that 90% of first-time iPhone buyers have purchased their phones at carrier retail stores.

To boost iPhone sales, Apple decided to include the smartphone in the company’s “back-to-school” season, selling it to students with an App Store Gift Card.

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