Apple’s decision to make Best Buy an official partner for the iPhone is certainly paying off. With 1,100 outlets across the U.S. and an online store, the retailer is now selling almost as many iPhones as Apple itself, according to a survey of customers who purchased the device between December 2011 and February 2012.
Consumer Intelligence Research Parters (CIRP) asked users who purchased their iPhone during that period where they chose to get it from. It found that 76% of customers bought their iPhone from a retail store, while the other 24% decided to buy online.
What’s most interesting about these numbers is which retailers customers chose to visit for their iPhone. According to the survey, AT&T sold most iPhones during that three-month period, with 32% through its online and retail stores. Verizon followed closely behind with 30% of the sales, while Sprint took third spot with 7%.
Apple sold 15% of the iPhones, 11% of which were handled in store, while the other 4% were online. Best Buy almost matched that, selling 13% in total, largely thanks to its huge reach across the U.S. CIRP’s Josh Lowitz told AllThingsD:
Apple Stores and the Apple Web site are tremendously productive, but they are limited by their relatively small retail footprint. There are four times as many Best Buy stores, and probably 20 times as many AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint stores, so aggressive distribution through all these channels is critical to Apple’s U.S. strategy.
The other 3% of respondents chose “Other” in the survey, which is thought to be a combination of retailers like Radio Shack and Walmart.
When the iPhone 4S launched, retail stores accounted for 67% of initial purchases, while 33% were made online. Online shopping is though to be higher around this time thanks to online pre-orders, which guaranteed delivery of the device on launch day.