Apple is leasing about 4.6 million square feet related to retail store space worldwide. As of September 30, 2013, the company has 411 stores open and about 42,800 retail personnel. But how are those stores performing? Horace Dediu of Asymco tries to find some answers.
The Cupertino-based company has opened 27 stores in 2013 alone – last year 33 were opened – with the total open Apple Retail stores generating 395 million visitors, up from 372 million recorded last year. The retail segment generated $20.228 billion in revenue, according to iFo Apple Store’s data.
Looking back in time, Dediu has found that the number of visitors per store per quarter has been fairly steady at 240,000 since the middle of 2010, up from the 160,000 per store per quarter recorded between 2007 and 2010.
So what triggered the sudden increase in visitors? Dediu has a couple of theories, including store redesign, but what he finds most plausible is the launch of the iPad, which came in 2010.
That leaves product. Here we have a clear suspect. The iPad launched exactly at the point in time when the visitor count leaped. In my opinion this is the best explanation.
Let’s remember also the comment from Ron Johnson at the time of the iPad launch. He said that it was as if the stores were designed for a product like the iPad. In other words, the iPad is something that needs to be discovered with a retail experience. You can sense this when you visit the stores and the placement of the iPads within.
Apple’s stores are brand ambassadors, he says. When a users enter the store, they automatically interact with the product, which triggers purchase decisions speaking directly with them. Has the Apple Store’s magic worked on you?