Apple’s retail stores are becoming a favorite for Apple’s Home PC customers, and even attracting households without a Home Apple PC of their own.
Of all the retail outlets that Apple households have recently shopped or purchased in, Apple’s retail stores rank #4. One-third (33%) of Apple households report recently shopping in or purchasing from an Apple retail store. When including Apple’s online store, this number rises to 43%, ranking it also fourth among most-frequented outlets. We’ve reported this in the MetaFacts Apple Profile Report 2008 based on our surveys of over 10,000 respondents by telephone and online as part of the Technology User Profile 2008 Annual Edition.
Why is this important?
Any company from PC makers to printer manufacturers and software developers need to keep closer tabs on Apple again. Apple has moved beyond the (PC) box and is finally getting traction in retail traffic.
So, it’s important to watch both the Windows-using tire-kickers as well as the Apple faithful.
Where else are you more likely to run into Apple-owning shoppers? They are more likely than non-Apple households to be found shopping in a Target store than a Wal-Mart store.
Target – 49% of Apple households vs. 43% for non-Apple households
Wal-Mart – 48% of Apple households vs. 62% for non-Apple households
They’re also more prevalent in book stores:
Barnes & Noble – 30% of Apple households vs. 21% for non-Apple households
Borders – 25% of Apple households vs. 14% for non-Apple households
Interestingly, although Apple households are active shoppers, tech-savvy, and very comfortable and facile online, they aren’t shopping at significantly more online outlets than non-Apple households. They do actively shop online, however. Nearly three-fourths (71%) of Apple households have recently shopped or purchased online, compared with nearly two-thirds (64%) of non-Apple Households.
More of Apple’s shoppers frequent eBay than Apple’s own online store. The #2-ranked destination for Apple households is eBay, having recently attracted just over one-third (34%) of Apple households. Apple’s online store pulled in just under a quarter (24%) of these Apple owners.
Since non-Apple households outnumber Apple households 94% to 6%, if all else was equal, it could be expected that non-Apple shoppers would frequent Apple’s retail or online stores in similar ratios. That may be Apple’s grand desire, but at this time Apple’s customers have a significantly higher share of their ranks visiting Apple retail stores than their national shares might indicate. This could be looked at as a strong reflection of Apple’s customer loyalty and interest in special programs and services Apple offers in these stores. Alternatively, it could be looked at as some failing on Apple’s part to get wider distribution of its products.Even more interesting, and positive for Apple, is the remarkably high share of non-Apple households that shop in and buy from Apple’s retail stores. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Apple’s retail shoppers do not have an Apple PC in their household. Also of interest: 4.6 million non-Apple households shop or buy on Apple’s online site, which is nearly identical to Apple’s entire Home PC customer base of 4.5 million households. This is a testament to Apple’s success in driving tire-kickers and concerned Windows XP users and Vista candidates into its stores, as well as customers for its non-PC products, the iPhone & iPod in particular. These high numbers are also a strong and positive indicator of future potential growth for Apple.
Beyond everyday consumables and consumer electronics, Apple owners are somewhat unique in where they buy PC-related products. Apple’s own stores are among the top 5 shopping choices among Apple owners, at 13 times the rate of non-Apple owners, even though Sony has a retail presence. Historically, IBM, Gateway, and even Dell have operated their own company-owned outlets and kiosks. These haven’t drawn anywhere near the dedicated attention Apple commands. This is due in part to Apple’s unique and proprietary products, so buyers benefit in being able to get otherwise hard-to-find products. Also, with Apple’s strong brand loyalty, Apple buyers have other reasons to frequent the stores, from their specialized Genius Bar support to One-on-One Apple-specific training.
With the exception of Apple’s own stores, the top 5 types of outlets Apple households frequent are the same as those shopped by non-Apple households. There is a wide gap between Apple and non-Apple buyers among discount stores, notably Wal-Mart. For more than one reason, Wal-Mart is less frequented by the Apple crowd: the demographics skew in opposite directions, Wal-Mart doesn’t carry the wealth of Apple-specific products found in other outlets, and in many cases, Wal-Mart is located in other regions, states, and neighborhoods than Apple stores.