walmart at night

Discount shoppers are more apt to buy an Android smartphone than an Apple iPhone. Indeed, Android handsets are three times as likely to be sold through discounters such as Walmart and Costco than Apple’s smartphone, new research indicates. The numbers are just the latest from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), providing insight into where and by whom Apple and Android devices are purchased…

According to CIRP, discounters and big box stores are the smartphone platform’s third-largest source of sales, behind electronics retailer Best Buy and carriers. For Apple, discounters account for just a sliver of iPhone sales with the bulk coming from carriers and the Apple Store.


The findings seem to suggest that discounters who are accustomed to wringing as much profit as possible from vendors are finding the makers of Android phones more amenable to their demands. On the other hand, carriers and others have voiced their displeasure with Apple and its tight control over the iPhone’s pricing.

The numbers do not mean the iPhone cannot be found at discounters. In fact, there is often stiff competition to get the Apple brand in Walmart and elsewhere. Recently, the world’s largest retailer announced plans to buy older iPhones ahead of the expected September launch of the iPhone 5S.

However, the CIRP figures do illustrate the differing retail strategies of the two smartphone players. While both rely heavily on their carrier partners to sell handsets, Apple’s dependence is to a lesser extent.

Samsung Experience Shops (Best Buy 001)

Additionally, Best Buy is the second-largest source of Android purchases.

By comparison, Apple’s own retail locations have become the second most important source for iPhone sales. We’ve reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook wants Apple Stores to account for half of handset sales, a figure now hovering at just over 20 percent.

Finally, the news of Android’s greater dependence on discount shoppers reinforces the platform’s mass market image. While racking up huge sales is desirable, being viewed as common may not get Google closer to eroding Apple’s elitist, upscale and premium image. As we discussed during the debate over whether a gold iPhone is a good idea, the iPhone is frequently viewed as a fashion accessory.


The research firm also released charts showing Android owners tend to be older, less prosperous and less educated. Does that mean all Android owners are not young, rich and carrying an advanced degree?

Of course not.

The same for iPhone buyers.

Just as I know young, hip Android users, there are many older iPhone owners playing Tiny Tower and texting their grandkids. The point is that images are being built, something that’s not always helpful.


Take the VW, for instance.

It was created to be the people’s car: cheap, sturdy and reliable. Although built during the Nazi period, its image was remade during the 1960s as young people adopted the vehicle.

Same with Android.

Its advantage of sheer numbers could be outweighed by the image of the commoner’s smartphone. Meanwhile, Apple is humming along, scooping up profits selling fewer units, but to a more revenue-rich market.

  • Joseph

    Believe it or not, some people also actually prefer Android, too, but whatever.

    • Markus Hudobnik

      Well, yeah of course. But if a “discount” shopper sees a phone that is obviously low in the price range and has a tins of features they are going to buy it. Tons of my friends are that way (then they end up with a crap phone for a few years, lol)

      • Joseph

        Pretty much. More, well, esteemed shoppers will make sure the phone has what they want out of it, and an iPhone might not serve that purpose (or maybe they just have money invested in that ecosystem that they don’t want to lose).

      • mehrab

        I see a non geek version of me going into bestbuy and seeing the gs4 and the iphone 5 and thinking to myself how much better the gs4 and that the iphine 5 is absolute crap. Samsungs marketing of its *horrible* features are the reason they sell well.

      • Joseph

        Logically, they’re not horrible features if people are buying the device because of them and keeping it. Also, the jailbreak devs disagree with you, given that multiple Samsung features have already been ported to Cydia.

      • mehrab

        They are features you dont need in the real world and are useless and clunky imo after using them. Jailbreak devs do whatever they can to make some monaay btw video pane and samrt pause on cydia really didnt make me move an muscle it is cool how an exclusive feature from a flagship android is on a ios device imagine the appstore on android

      • Joseph

        Yes, the app store on Android would be interesting indeed.

        Let me point out some real world uses.

        Smart Scroll: Hands-free scrolling. Good for people who don’t feel like moving, and it’s pretty practical. It’s like the auto-scrolling bookmarklet but better.

        Smart Stay: Pauses videos when not looking. Good for getting autism patients to learn to focus their eyes on one particular thing (something I sometimes suffer from), or just so that you don’t miss anything if you get distracted and have to look up.

        Air View/Gesture: Used to activate multiple things such as the much easier and faster tasking of screenshots and floating videos. Basically a staple for the other features, too.

        S-Translator: Samsung’s version of Google Translate, which talks back to you. G-Translate does this too, though.

        Group Play: Allows for the streaming of music or sound at the exact same time between multiple Galaxy devices. Useful for a surround sound experience or, if, you know, the sound on one device isn’t loud enough. This one is pretty situational.

        S-Voice Drive: Hands-free voice commands. Useful while driving, most notably in states where holding your phone and driving is illegal.

        Knox: Samsung’s version of Android profiles. Allows you to keep your professional and personal life separate.

        S-Health: Health tracking, built into the phone. Basically Nike+iPhone but way better, so it’s not useless because it allows you to track your health in an efficient and automated manner.

        Samsung Optical Reader: Enhanced version of Google Goggles and a QR code reader that also allows the saving of business cards.

        Floating Video: One of the best features next to multi-window, in my opinion. Allows you to take a video out of a webpage or YouTube video and watch it while you do other things, which can be useful for game tutorials, entertainment while multitasking, and more, like watching informstion while writing a blog post. Google even saw this as a good feature, because they (sort of) added it to the YouTube app.

        Multi-Window: Another great feature that is seen as gimmicky. What if I want to be able to view a map of where I’m going and read about the locations that are up ahead at the same time? Look up things and post to a Facebook group? This feature is sort of limited to optimized apps because Google doesn’t like the feature, they feel that if unoptimized apps were used in multi-window mode, users would give devs lower ratings just because their apps are buggy in a feature they don’t officially support. There is, however, an app on the Play Store to disable that limitation, and the feature is wonderfully useful afterward.

        Any other features you want me to mention?

      • mehrab

        Smart scroll you need to look on the phone and then move it upwards and downwards it doesn’t work most of the time and when it does it doesn’t work well.
        Smartstay i would really turn it off if i move a bit in some cases it pauses the video plus its a battery hog trust me people keep it turned off most of the time/just forever.
        Air veiw is really bad you need to get your fingers really close to the device for it to work i”d rather just tap it, apple did a air view implementation in ios 7 on the photos app in the collection/years views and oh boy it kills air veiw. I prefer taking screen shots the ios way much easier and cohesive and practical.
        Well we have apps such as google tranlate/itranslate itranlate is much better see its reviwes/a youtube video of it i action
        Group play is nice
        Knox iso kayish
        S health is nice
        Floating video is something which is not really a selling point i never used it whenever i did. I didnt like it it just seemed too much going on and the video is tiny and its just weird i”d rather blow it up watch it and then do my other tasks.
        Muitiwindow is actually prettty horrible performance wise its okayish but its impractical you have less real estate to work with to do anything tbh these features would be great on an ipad maxi perhaps i dontl ike the windows 8 snap but i like it more then multiwindows i know its unrelated since we”re talking about samsung

  • iPhone 5C would probably be lacking even more basic features (like Voice Assistant or front facing camera), just like the less appealing iPod touch they used to replace the iPod Touch 4.

  • Firehawk kerosene

    “However, the CIRP figures do illustrate the differing retail strategies of the two smartphone players.” makes it sound like android can think for itself lol., wait, it can???
    Edit: I love our android overlords