Best Buy, which has suffered from recent financial struggles, is the largest single retailer for mobile phones in the United States with 13 percent of sales, according to a survey from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
The CIRP survey found that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which of course only sells iPhones in its stores, accounts for a full 11 percent of U.S. mobile retail sales. Big box retailers such as Target, Walmart and Costco collectively make up 12 percent of sales, while Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) makes up 7 percent of sales and eBay gets 2 percent.
"Surprisingly, in light of its recent financial troubles, Best Buy has significant power," Michael Levin, a partner at CIRP, told AllThingsD. Part of that strength likely comes from the fact that Best Buy sells phones from all the major carriers and operating systems. Best Buy also operates hundreds of Best Buy Mobile stores that only sell mobile phones and devices, and has worked to enhance its offerings with exclusive phones and service plans. For example, Best Buy earlier this month partnered with Sprint to offer students who purchase their phone through Best Buy unlimited talk, text and 1 GB of data for 12 months for free.
Additionally, earlier this year Samsung Electronics announced a partnership with Best Buy to open 1,400 "Samsung Experience Shops" within Best Buy locations across the U.S. The store-within-a-store concept allows Samsung to highlight its wares and demonstrate how its smartphone, tablets, TVs, laptops, cameras and other connected devices interact.
According to the CIRP survey, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) gets the largest share of sales from its own retail stores, at 57 percent, while the other three Tier 1 carriers each get about half of their sales from their own stores, according to AllThingsD.
And it appears Verizon hopes to increase that percentage. The carrier recently unveiled a new 9,715-square-foot "Destination" store at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., a new retail concept meant to highlight connected devices on its LTE network. The company will soon introduce similar stores in Chicago and Houston and more cities in the future.
Verizon is not the first carrier to test out a store concept that highlights connected devices. In September 2012, AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) opened a 10,000-square-foot flagship store on Chicago's Michigan Avenue to serve as a showcase for the latest products available today and planned for tomorrow. Both AT&T and Verizon have been converting their smaller retail stores to highlight connected devices and improve the retail experience.
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this Electronista article
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