12/17/2009 11:03:00 AM
Retailers: Tesco no threat to iPhone sales
Retail staff and dealers are sceptical of Tesco’s ability to sell Apple’s iPhone, following its announcement that it would start offering the device from 14 December.
Employees in the indirect and retail channels said they were not worried about Tesco stealing share, because customers would not go to a supermarket to buy such a ‘specialised product’.
Retail staff in O2 stores and Carphone Warehouse were confident that customers would go to mobile specialist stores rather than the supermarket giant.
One O2 staffer said: ‘It won’t make any difference to us – the other networks getting it has not had any impact. If customers want that type of phone they won’t go to the supermarket.’
Another added: ‘It’s a specialised phone and if they [customers] have problems, they want first-hand advice.’
Meanwhile, some were critical of Tesco’s decision to offer the iPhone on a 12 month contract. If customers pay £222 up front for an iPhone 3G, they can get the device on a £20 per month, one year contract – the cheapest tariff on the market.
One independent retailer said: ‘The key thing for Tesco will be whether they can retain the customers beyond 12 months.’
However, CCS Insight MD Shaun Collins said Tesco may be ahead of the game, as Apple is likely to ‘refresh’ the iPhone next year, which would make a two year contract more difficult to sell.
Collins said: ‘The 12 month contract is important because we are expecting a refresh of the iPhone in 2010 and the two year contract on the iPhone is going to become increasingly difficult to sell.’
He added that Tesco Mobile’s tariff structure, which also includes a £60, 24 month contract, was just ‘moving the deck chair’, rather than a price war move.