According to a recent study by The NPD Group, only 24 percent of 2,100 consumers said that buying a mobile phone from a carrier-owned store was an "excellent or good experience." Although carrier stores account for 68 percent of all mobile phone purchases, the report found that large retail stores, such as Wal-Mart and electronics outlets, scored much higher in customer satisfaction with the handset purchasing experience. Knowledge and helpfulness of the sales staff were the biggest weakness of carrier stores, with only 25 percent responding that the stores were "excellent or very good" in that area.
A majority of the consumers surveyed were experienced mobile shoppers. Only 14 percent of the consumers were purchasing a handset for the first time, while 39 percent were upgrading to a better phone and 15 percent were replacing a damaged one.