Sprint's Share of iPhone Sales at Big Box Retailers Double That Seen at Apple Retail Stores

AllThingsD reports on an interesting survey from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) studying the balance of iPhone sales among the three major U.S. carriers at various points of sale such as Apple's retail stores, Best Buy, and warehouse clubs and mass market retailers.

The survey shows that AT&T remains the clear market leader for the iPhone in the United States, registering at 62% in aggregate and followed by Verizon at 26% and Sprint at just 12%. But the most interesting data pertains to the Sprint iPhone specifically, which represents just 9% of Apple retail store iPhone sales compared to 18-19% at other retailers.

cirp 2012 carrier retail share
The report suggests that legacy availability is the prime reason for the difference in popularity at the different sales outlets, with customers likely to return to their previous points of purchase when it comes time to buy new phones and remain loyal to their carriers. With Sprint being the newest entrant of the three when it comes to the iPhone, its customers tend to return to Best Buy and other long-time Sprint retailers to purchase an iPhone rather going to an Apple retail store.

In other words, if you bought an iPhone from Apple on AT&T or Verizon and you return to the store to buy another, you’re not likely to switch carriers. And since Apple Stores have sold only AT&T and Verizon iPhones for so long, Sprint’s seeing a bit less traction there than it is at retailers like Best Buy, where it has had a longer-term presence.

“Sprint is really suffering from being third to the dance,” CIRP partner Michael Levin told AllThingsD. “At the Apple Store and other carrier-agnostic retailers, there is still very little switching, and Sprint just doesn’t have enough existing customers walking through the door. … AT&T’s installed base of iPhone customers and Verizon’s huge, satisfied customer base are proving a barrier to Sprint growing its market share.”

Beyond the three major carriers, Apple has also been expanding its reach by bringing the iPhone to a number of smaller regional and super-regional carriers, and most recently began an expansion into the U.S. prepaid market with Cricket last week and Virgin Mobile USA later this week.

Top Rated Comments

jav6454 Avatar
115 months ago
So much hype and fanfare when Verizon got the iPhone. I remember those threads, "AT&Ts death".

Yet surprisingly AT&T is doing just fine and beating two carriers. Seems to show that the vocal ones were just a minority. If AT&T would be problem ridden as we were led to believe, there would be mass exodus. Something that has yet to be seen.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BMNB1tch Avatar
115 months ago
not surprising

there are more big box retailers in rural areas than apple stores
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kyjaotkb Avatar
115 months ago
Just proves nobody wants to be on Sprint's garbage network. Laughing at anyone who is on Sprint because they offer "unlimited data"

Stupid people

take the chill pill buddy... judging people as "stupid" on the basis of their carrier's reliability is... not very clever, is it ?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleFan73 Avatar
115 months ago
It shouldn't matter which carrier is better. As long has the carrier you picked is working for you, thats what counts. :)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mattie Num Nums Avatar
115 months ago
Just upgraded my EVO4G to a 4S.

I am happy with Sprint.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
barkomatic Avatar
115 months ago
If Sprint gets its LTE network out the door and maintains true unlimited data, then I might be tempted to leave my faux AT&T unlimited data plan behind.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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