In a blog post— Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster thinks the number of Apple stores will grow from slightly over 500 now to 600 by 2023.
That growth will be due to expansion in China and India. Within five years, Munster predicts Apple will employ 80,000 customer service employees in its retail establishments. The tech giant currently has 504 retail stores in 25 countries and an online store available in 39 countries.
Munster says that Apple's huge retail footprint gives it an "underappreciated competitive advantage," in that it's able to sell its own products in a much larger amount of stores than any of its competitors can. He adds that:
- No other tech company has Apple’s base of 65,000 retail employees delivering face to face advice, support, and experiences. Microsoft comes in second with about 6,000 retail employees.
- Apple stores are a channel through which Apple expresses its values of quality, design, experience, inspiration, ease of use, and privacy.
- These values are delivered through the Genius Bar, Today at Apple, employee checkout, in-store pickup, curated third-party products, and a consistent online and in-store experience.