It was reported [TheFrustum] sometime in July of this year of how Apple's CEO Tim Cook, though was appreciative of the overall performance of Apple Retail stores, was not satisfied with iPhone sales from their stores. It was quoted at that time that Apple Retail was selling less than 20% of the total iPhones sold in the US. Now after only about a four months, AllThingsD is reporting that this number has risen to 25%, which is a significant number when the number of iPhones Apple sells in a quarter is taken into account [Apple's Q4, 2013 financial results]. If at all these numbers are accurate it is an interesting development and suggests that the steps taken by Apple to increase the iPhone sales from their own Retail stores is indeed working.
As I mentioned last time in my post on this, most of the people I know who chose to buy iPhones from places other than Apple stores, do so becuase of the better discounts that stores like Best Buy and Walmart offer. And I am not aware of any major discounts Apple introduced in the last few months that could have warranted this increase in iPhone sales. So indeed there must have been some other initiatives that have resulted in this improvement.
Other facts from this report that are worth mentioning are, Apple sells 11% of the retail phone sales, though it only sells iPhones! Also the big box retailer Best Buy is surprisingly another leading place people buy iPhones from (other than the Apple store), accounting for around 13% of the sales. If you have been to a Best Buy store recently you would have noticed how shoddy the customer experience is and how arrogant the staff working there can be, hence my surprise. This again reiterates the fact that Best Buy is solely responsible for its recent financial troubles [Forbes] as people are still interested in buying electronics from a brick and mortar store.
Also I am not sure how people can buy anything from carrier stores, as AT&T and Verizon stores apparently contribute almost 40% of the iPhone sales. The last time I bought an iPhone from an AT&T store was when they were offering $100 off on iPhone 5S. Somehow a $100 discount justified the compromise I was forced to make on the iPhone buying experience!