If you were planning to buy an iPhone 14, where would you shop? Your answer may vary depending on where you are in the world, but at least in the US, the answer is increasingly not given through Apple’s own stores.
This is according to a report from CIRP (opens in new tab) (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners LLC), via The Verge (opens in new tab)It found that only about 24% of iPhone buyers in the US shop directly with Apple.
Meanwhile, 67% buy their iPhones through carriers – namely AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon primarily. That’s the vast majority of sales and in most parts of the world this statistic might not be too surprising, but given the long queues Apple stores took in the days of iPhone launch, this seems to point to a shift in the US.
In fact, the most surprising statistic might be that other retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart only make up the remaining 9%.
There are good reasons to choose carriers, though. For one thing, while there are actually only 272 Apple Stores in the US, carrier stores are much more common, making them much more affordable.
Sure, a lot of shopping is done online these days, but carriers may be a more attractive prospect, as you can usually get a new iPhone ‘free’ through a carrier, whether in-store or on the web. your monthly plan; at least to make it look much more appropriate.
Overall costs aren’t always lower, but at least they’re more distributed, and often carriers are actually a lot cheaper or add extras to sweeten the deal. So their success in iPhone sales isn’t a real surprise.
Analysis: How do carriers compare to Apple?
Carrier deals vary of course, but like Verizon’s Cyber Monday deal, it’s sometimes really great. still running and gives customers a free Apple Watch SE 2, iPad 10.2 (2021), and a pair of Beats Fit Pros when they purchase an iPhone 14 Pro with an unlimited data plan.
On top of that, customers can earn up to $1,000 off if they trade in an old handset and up to $200 in gift cards if they switch from another carrier.
If you bought an iPhone 14 Pro through Apple now or even during Black Friday, you basically have to pay the full price of the phone, with no discounts, gift cards, or freebies.
There are caveats here that you can choose to split the cost, and Apple does offer some deals with swap and carrier activation (but usually no better than the deals you’d get by going directly to the carrier).
But it didn’t offer any special Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals on the iPhone 14 line, and even if you bought an older model at the time, the best you could hope for was a $50 gift card.
And this is typical of Apple. Other retailers like Walmart and Best Buy sometimes offer bigger discounts, so their little slice of the pie is somewhat surprising, but they’re still rarely matched for the best carrier deals.
So if you’re looking to buy an iPhone, you should definitely look beyond Apple because there are often much better deals elsewhere – and that’s true outside of the US as well.
To help you out, we’ve got a guide to the best iPhone deals, and below you’ll find the best deals on most models in your area.