Horace Dediu of Asymco has put together a few charts to show the growth of Apple retail visitor numbers over the past six years. It’s clear to see that Apple visitor numbers are continuing to grow, although that growth is beginning to flatten out somewhat.
In fiscal 2013 there were 395 million visitors to Apple retail stores, compared to 372 million in fiscal 2012. Although a 23 million visitor increase is incredible, it does not necessarily reflect the performance of Apple Stores themselves as new ones are regularly opened (21 new stores in 2013). The visitor numbers graph appears to be flattening out although this could be attributed to the rate at which Apple is opening new stores.
The better indication of Apple Store performance is average visitor per store. The graph above shows the average visitors per store for each quarter. As you can see the visitor rate was steady between 2007 and 2010 at around the 160,000 mark.
Since 2010, the number has been rising. Dediu puts this “quantum leap” in the visitor numbers down to one thing: the iPad. He believes that the best explanation of the rising visitor numbers is the launch of the iPad in 2010.
Ron Johnson, ex-Apple SVP of Retail, once described Apple Stores as the perfect place to pick up and experience an iPad. This is event from the number of people in Apple Stores simply playing on the devices and the utilisation of iPads as interactive product displays.
With two new iPad products set to hit Apple Store shelves in November, the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini, we could see visitor numbers shoot up for this quarter. Tim Cook said it would be an “iPad Christmas” and it’s sure going to be a busy period of time at Apple Stores worldwide.