When given the choice, consumers would rather buy their mobile phones from retailers than from their carriers. According to a survey just released by The NPD Group, only 24 percent of people surveyed said that they had had an “excellent or good experience” when buying a phone from a carrier-owned store. Mass retailers and electronics stores enjoyed higher ratings.
Nextel and Cingular ranked highest in the survey while new Nextel partner Sprint and T-Mobile ranked lowest. For retailers it was Wal-Mart and Radio Shack that earned top marks.
Despite the dissatisfaction, carriers still sell 68% of phones. The biggest complaint with the carrier stores was the knowledge and helpfulness of the staff. Just 1 in 4 respondents called the stores ‘good or very good’ in these areas.
“It’s pretty typical (in the retail industry) to see 60, 70 and 80 percent in this area,” NPD researcher Clint Wheelock said. “The fact that they’re down in the 20s is a red flag to me. These numbers really quantify that consumers are generally unhappy in the experience of buying a cellular phone.”
Despite the problems that consumers have the sales and profits in the industry are robust, so I won’t be holding my breath waiting for any changes.