About 12 years after Apple opened its first store in Tysons Corner, Virginia, chief executive Tim Cook said “store” might not be the right word to describe Apple’s outlets anymore. Many experts criticized late Steve Jobs’ decision to open exclusive premium stores in 2001. They argued that the company’s strategy to sell only a few products at expensive outlets was doomed.
These stores are ‘the face of Apple’
The experts were not entirely wrong. They had a reason to believe so. Gateway had shut down 188 electronics stores in 2004, and CompUSA said it would close its stores in 2007, according to The Washington Post. But now Tim Cook says that these same stores have become “the face of Apple” for most of its customers.
As of June 2015, Apple has 265 stores in the United States and more than 400 worldwide. The Cupertino-based tech giant has announced to open its largest store in Dubai. The iPhone maker has promised to more than double the number of store in China to 40 within two years. An animated map created by CartoDB beautifully shows how Apple stores have come to dominate the world since 2001.
Apple still has a long way to go
The tech giant still doesn’t have any stores in Africa, many Asian and South American countries. It reflects the growth potential for Apple. The Cupertino company was initially selling its products via electronics retailers like CompUSA. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in the late 1990s, he felt that Apple’s products were buried among hundreds of goods from other companies. It compromised the brand.
So, Apple created its premium stores such that there was plenty of space for people to interact, learn about and try out its products. The strategy worked. Apple ended the fiscal third quarter with a staggering $203 billion in cash. The company posted $49.6 billion in quarterly revenue and $10.7 billion in profits. Apple takes away 92% of the world’s smartphone profits. Other smartphone makers account for just 8% profit, while dozens of others are operating in losses.