Carriers Grab 55% Of Q4 Retail Smartphone Sales

CIRP survey also finds Apple at 13%, Best Buy at 12%

Chicago — Carrier stores, carrier websites and independently owned carrier-branded stores continue to dominate smartphone sales to consumers, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) found in a consumer survey.

The survey also found that Apple, through its stores and website, is losing smartphone retail share.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, 55 percent of consumers bought their smartphone through a carrier-owned or independently owned carrier-branded store as well as through carrier websites (see chart 1). For the seven-quarter period from April 2013 through December 2014, the carrier channel accounted for 57 percent of sales (see chart 2).

In the fourth quarter, Apple accounted for 13 percent of purchases, buoyed by the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Although that’s up from 8 percent in the first full quarter following the 5s and 5c launch in 2013, it’s down from 17 percent in the quarter following the 2012 launch of the iPhone 5, CIRP found.

Apple’s share for the seven-quarter period came to 9 percent.


The survey also found that “despite Best Buy’s wide geographic footprint, Apple stores’ high profile, and Amazon’s online dominance, none of these retailers accounts for more than 12 percent of total U.S. unit mobile phone sales over the past seven quarters,” said CIRP partner Josh Lowitz.

During the fourth quarter of 2014 and during the seven-quarter period, Best Buy’s stores and website accounted for 12 percent of purchases, and mass-market retailers and warehouse stores accounted for 11 percent through their stores and websites. Amazon accounted for 7 percent in the fourth quarter and 8 percent in the seven-quarter period.

Other retailers accounted for 2 percent in the fourth quarter and 3 percent in the seven-quarter period.

CIRP bases its results on responses of 500 people who activated a phone in the 90 days preceding the survey


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