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Summary:

Twelve years after their first opening, Apple’s expanding net sales and soaring store traffic show it could use more locations, especially in international cities, of Apple Stores.

5th Avenue Apple Store

Apple has about 400 stores in 14 countries, and they are at peak traffic — 370 million people walked through their doors last year.  But as the data below shows, while Apple is selling more iPhones, iPads and Macs than ever, it’s having a hard time keeping up on the retail store front. Horace Dediu at Asymco pulled together the data in a chart that shows how Apple isn’t building new stores fast enough relative to its expanding sales.

Asymco Apple Store Openings

Credit: Asymco

Apple’s net sales have taken off since the dawning of the iPhone era. New store ribbon cuttings were at their highest in 2008 — 47 opened that year — when net sales were at about $10 billion. But since then, Apple’s net sales per year have reached $40 billion and store openings haven’t been opening at the same rate.

Also during that time, Apple’s revenue from sales in its own stores is compared to its revenues from third-party retail partners have been shrinking: Asymco notes that five years ago its own retail revenue was about $4.7 billion, or about 17 percent, while last year its $19.1 billion in retail revenue represented 12 percent.

Apple Stores are not just a place to sell things, of course. They’re customer service counters, customer education classrooms and show rooms for Apple style and culture. And they’re continuing to bring more customers into Apple’s ranks. But its expanding sales show that it needs more stores.

One of the things CEO Tim Cook mentioned as a priority in 2013 for Apple is that it will be investing “like crazy” in retail, specifically international retail stores in new countries. So far, however, it looks as though he’ll be doing that all without someone dedicated to guiding the retail ship.

  1. Shouldn’t the graph compare total stores opened vs. total sales? Or maybe per cent increase in stores vs. increase in sales? This isn’t a valid comparison.

    And what are “net sales”? I’ve heard of sales, and net earnings, but not net sales.

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    1. Some accountants figure Net Sales = Gross Sales – Cost of Sales, where Cost of Sales is the cost of operating the sales channel – Apple Stores in this case.

      Net Sales from the Apple Stores can be compared directly with Net Sales from store.apple.com, Net Sales from Best Buy, etc.

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  2. I think just considering sales would be a mistake. There would be other parameters on which the retail store decision would be based on. I am not too sure if sales will even be there in the top 5.

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  3. Laughing_Boy48 Monday, February 25, 2013

    That’s odd. You’re not in agreement with Wall Street’s assessment that Apple will soon be out of business as consumers all switch to Samsung and Android devices looking for reasonably priced goods. In fact, Wall Street doesn’t consider Apple’s retail stores or customer service/customer education to be of any use whatsoever. All that matters is market share and nothing else after that.

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  4. I believe Horace also pointed out that Apple is enlarging many stores so floor space is increasing faster than store openings.

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  5. Wall Street has laughed at everything Apple has done in the last 16 years.

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  6. I think it is by design. Many retailers often get ahead of themselves and realize they have to scale back. I think if they are at max capacity they are running efficiently.

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  7. This article in its current form doesn’t make much sense to me. If anything you should compare total number of stores vs. total sales and then calculate a ratio between the two.

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  8. yet android fans would like you to believe apple is dieing.. ROFL

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