April 17, 2024

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Unlimited Technology

With electronics on holiday wish lists, Samsung and Apple are meeting shoppers back in stores

Samsung is opening an experience store in Frisco’s Stonebriar Centre. Target is adding more Apple shops inside its stores by Christmas.

It’s no accident that the two largest smartphone makers of Galaxy and iPhones are chasing consumers back to brick-and-mortar stores.

The outlook for 5G phones — the latest smartphone iteration — is robust this holiday season and the devices top consumers’ electronics wish lists, according to a survey by industry trade group Consumer Technology Association.

In November 2019, U.S. consumers believed their smartphones should reasonably last 4.2 years, and at that time, the average age of a smartphone was just over 2 years, according to CTA.

But there’s something new to buy this year. Samsung released its Galaxy Z Flip 3 and ZFold3 in August and Apple unveiled its new iPhone 13 lineup in September.

Samsung said its experience stores are a response to shoppers heading back to the mall this holiday season. The South Korean company has opened four experience stores so far, with one in the Houston Galleria and one each in major malls in Los Angeles, New York and Palo Alto. It started opening the stores just before the pandemic in 2019.

At Stonebriar, the Samsung experience store will open on the first level of Fossil’s former 3,800-square-foot space. Until that store is ready, probably right after Christmas, the company said it has installed a 10-foot by 20-foot temporary store anchored by a Ford Wagon in the mall corridor near Barnes & Noble. Galaxy foldable smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and earbuds will be on display.

Samsung declined to say whether this is the beginning of a more extensive store rollout.

While Apple stores have been around for 20 years, Samsung has mostly sold its Galaxy phones directly online, or through major wireless carriers and retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart.

Target and Apple have a large overlap in customers, and now the chain will be giving Apple twice the space it had in its electronics department.

Apple shops started appearing in February inside Target stores, including Allen, Hurst and Irving locations. A second batch of Apple shops are opening soon in Rockwall, Arlington, Denton, North Richland Hills, Flower Mound, Frisco and Watauga.

An all-time high of 191.3 million U.S. adults plan to purchase technology as a gift this holiday season, based on CTA estimates, but spending in the category will only be up 0.5% from a year ago.

A lot of electronics were bought last year to accommodate working and schooling from home. But the pandemic also “gave more people time and incentive to discover the many ways technology can improve their lives,” said Lesley Rohrbaugh, director of market research for CTA.

Electronics are on the wish lists of 26% of consumers, according to a survey of shoppers by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation.

The industry trade group expects holiday sales to increase 8.5% to 10.5% on top of last year’s 8.3% increase and an average rise of 4.4% in the past five years.

The five most-wished-for tech gifts among adults are:

  • Smartphones
  • Laptop/notebook computers
  • Wearable devices
  • Televisions
  • Video game consoles and tablets/e-readers (tied)
Target has been adding Apple shops into its electronics departments. No genius bar, though. That service remains exclusive to Apple stores.
Target has been adding Apple shops into its electronics departments. No genius bar, though. That service remains exclusive to Apple stores.(Target)

Here are the Target stores that soon will get Apple shops:

  • 10490 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, Fla.
  • 325 N Alafaya Trail, Orlando, Fla.
  • 7795 SW 40th St., Miami, Fla.
  • 650 N Congress Ave., Boynton Beach, Fla.
  • 1201 County Road 581, Wesley Chapel, Fla.
  • 8151 Dr. Martin Luther King St. N., St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • 4795 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy., Kissimmee, Fla.
  • 2199 Hwy. 36 E., North St. Paul, Minn.
  • 18275 Kenrick Ave., Lakeville, Minn.
  • 810 County Road 42 W., Burnsville, Minn.
  • 708 E Expressway 83, McAllen, Texas
  • 850 Steger Towne Road, Rockwall, Texas
  • 21515 Tomball Pkwy., Houston, Texas
  • 1600 W Arbrook Blvd., Arlington, Texas
  • 8532 Davis Blvd., North Richland Hills, Texas
  • 5959 Long Prairie Road, Flower Mound, Texas
  • 3201 Preston Road, Frisco, Texas
  • 8000 Denton Hwy., Watauga, Texas
  • 1801 S. Loop 288, Denton, Texas

Twitter: @MariaHalkias

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