We explored Apple Store foot traffic across the United States compared to Verizon Wireless. One is a top shelf device brand. The other, a national carrier with similar audience appeal. Which draws more foot traffic in America’s most cosmopolitan cities?
They are more partners than competitors, but the Apple Store and Verizon nonetheless square off for consumer visitation to their retail locations in several key markets, including America’s most affluent and cosmopolitan cities and neighborhoods.
With a joint appeal to upper scale consumers in urban environments, Apple Store and Verizon compete for much of the same foot traffic when consumers go looking for new mobile devices and accessories. At the end of the day, which brand does a better job of drawing visitation from the most affluent feet?
To find out, we looked at visitation data from Q1 of 2021 and 2022 in some of America’s most cosmopolitan cities, with an eye towards what to expect for Q1 of 2023 and beyond.
This one isn’t about total national foot traffic, where Verizon is the clear winner by a week to week margin of more than 2:1. It’s about how Apple Store is able to break through in tier 1 markets to disintermediate a national carrier.
Apple Store betters Verizon for total Q1 visitation at a state level in New York (56%) and Nevada by about the same margin. Those state level wins are anchored by performance in NYC and Las Vegas, both cosmopolitan, urban towns with a lot of money walking the streets each day. This trend is repeated in other affluent markets, including Boston and San Francisco.
Below, we’ll go beyond topline numbers to find out exactly where the Apple Store is outpacing Verizon, why that may be happening, and which other markets may be ripe for more Apple in 2023.
The more affluent the U.S. market, the better an Apple Store does there. That’s the rule and it holds in nearly every case.
In New York City, Apple Store locations draw almost 3 visitors for every 1 to Verizon. In fact, Apple Store locations outdraw every major wireless carrier in NYC, including Sprint and AT&T. How? NYC runs on brands and coffee, my friend. Cosmopolitan cities across America have their own vibe and their own tastes. When visiting, I suggest you get a Starbucks, an iPhone, some Chipotle, and do some shopping.
In Boston, Apple bucks the broader state trend to outdraw Verizon 2:1. We observe a similar profile of affluence and technical sophistication in Beantown to what we saw in the Big Apple. So, though the geography has changed, the nature of the consumer audience remains the same, allowing Apple to again beat back a national carrier in an influential market.
In Las Vegas, Verizon again loses to Apple Store, yielding about two thirds of the two brands’ total competitive foot traffic in Sin City. Las Vegas is a bit different than NYC or Boston as, while it’s a people with money market, it’s also a very transient one, with much of that money just passing through the local economy. Is Apple’s success here something that can be built on in similar markets?
In San Francisco, Apple Store locations draw better than 3 visits to every 1 for Verizon -- the same ratio we saw in the east coast’s dominant market, NYC. Also like in NYC, Apple Store outdraws other top carriers AT&T and Sprint here. Again let’s look at the consumer demographic -- arguably the most hip in America, certainly among the most tech savvy, and definitely affluent.
Competitive intelligence interpretations
It’s impossible to ignore the connection between the Apple brand and affluent markets. The two go together like peas and carrots. It’s also tough to miss that, despite against the odds wins in NYC, SFO and elsewhere, Apple Store loses other ‘people with money’ markets. Why?
The Miami area is flush with cash and has a similar transient profile to Las Vegas, but Verizon outdraws Apple Store here by nearly 3:1. Other upscale consumer brands do well here, so what gives? Similar questions could be asked about regional markets in Dallas, Atlanta and other major urban centers where Apple Store locations don’t draw nearly as much foot traffic by comparison.
The reason may be that, despite the profile of affluence being maintained from city to city, other regional consumer behaviors and influences, including brand loyalty and the depth and quality of partnership arrangements in place have thus far limited Apple Store’s ability to penetrate those markets in direct head to head competition with carriers.
If you’d like to see county and city level views of this, or any of our other brand performance index posts, please contact one of our friendly location intelligence experts today.