Potential Apple Store Rankings

I frequently receive questions about Apple's procedures for selecting where to locate retail stores, and reply that it's based a combination of many factors, including registered Apple custors within an area. I finally decided to put together my own amateur ranking of metro areas where future stores might be located, based upon various demographic data.

During an April 2007 financial conference call CFO Peter Oppenheimer said Apple would have new stores by the end of fiscal 2008, or Sept. 30th.

Apple uses two key pieces of information to help site its retail stores: the registered user list, and the ZIPcode of customers at existing Apple retail stores. Without this information, I had to come up with some alternatives. I started with a list of the largest metro areas in the country that don't currently have an Apple retail store, and then created a score based on six different elements:

  • the number of current stores in the state
  • the metro area's population
  • the presence of a large university (5,000 students or more)
  • the presence of Interstate highways in the area
  • the % of Internet use within the state
  • the metro area's median household income

The scoring system gives preference to the larger cities without a store, and to states with more Internet use. It then gives additional credit to those areas with a major university, no current stores within the state, and nearby Interstate highways, and factors in the metro area's median household income.

Note: Yes, the criteria I used is necessarily limited and subject to quirks--hey, Apple has access to as much demographic data as they're willing to buy! Thanks to Greg for pointing out that I analyzed only cities/metro areas down to a population of about 300,000. Perhaps several smaller cities would score higher than the 11.82 score at the bottom of this list, boosted by their state's high Internet use score. Also, many malls are being developed outside major metro areas, which this list wouldn't necessarily identify. I'm sure the list has lots of other limitations. Thanks to everyone who e-mailed with input and corrections!

As you can see, the top potential store rankings make some sense. After I prepared this list, several of the Top 10 were identified as future store locations, including San Antonio, Nashville, Grand Rapids, Oklahoma City and Norfolk. That seems to validate the methods I used. However, somewhere down the middle of the list the sites start making a little less sense. That leads me to think that this list of sites will never be fully realized. Rather, about mid-way down this list, Apple would prefer to build additional stores in metro areas where stores already exist, rather then build in smaller markets.

Also check my page on Apple's site selection process, and a list of the Top 150 metro areas in the U.S., the Top 10 metro areas without an Apple store, or download the original spreadsheet (xls format) on which this information was derived. Please provide feedback or post a new topic on the forum. And also check my ranked list of possible international store locations.

This listing was originally prepared in early Jan. 2005, and I've periodically updated it. Several stores (in gray, with location in bold) have been opened by Apple since I prepared the chart. The Providence store was known when the chart was posted, but I included it to validate the scoring system. Check the very bottom of the page for an unranked list of additional potential cities and store locations.

As you can see, the ranking has been pretty accurate.

Update: In April 2010 Experian Simmons created a report showing the top 206 metro areas in the U.S. and the percentage of Apple users (iPod, iPhone, Mac computer) in the region. Read my news report about the report.

Metro Area
Mall Sites
Boston MA Boston University 58.18 Faneuil Hall, Washington Street, Boylston Street
Melbourne-Titus-Palm Bay FL Kennedy Space Center, NASA, FIT, UCF 56.2  
San Antonio TX UT @ San Antonio 29.99 La Cantera
Providence RI Brown University 28.98 Providence Place (future)
Norfolk/Virginia Beach VA Old Dominion, others 28.31 Lynnhaven Mall, MacArthur Center
New Orleans LA Tulane 26.27 Riverwalk, Canal Place, Esplanade Mall, French Quarter
Philadelphia PA several 26.93 Walnut St., Liberty Pl., Franklin Mills
Nashville TN Vanderbilt 26.27 The Mall at Green Hills
Louisville KY U. of Louisville 24.53 Summit, St. Matthews,Oxmoor Center
Birmingham AL U. of A. at Birm. 24.44 Riverchase Galleria, The Summit, Bookwood Village
Oklahoma City OK   23.76 Quail Springs, Penn Square Mall
Rochester NY Rochester Inst. Tech. 22.60 Eastview Mall, Pittsford Plaza, Marketplace
Omaha NE U. of Neb.-Omaha 21.94 Village Pointe, Oak View, Legacy, Westroads
Dayton OH Univ. of Dayton, Wright State Univ. 21.37 Dayton Mall, Fairfield Commons, The Green
Washington DC several 20.90 Shops at Georgetown Park, Dupont Circle, 'M' Street
Tulsa OK University of Tulsa 20.51 Utica Square, Woodland Hills (planned)
Albuquerque NM U. of New Mexico 20.19 ABQ Downtown, Coronado Center, Winrock, Cottonwood Mall
Baton Rouge LA Louisiana. State 19.93 Mall of Louisiana, CitiPlace Shopping Center,
Greensboro/Winston-Salem NC UNC-Greensboro 19.59 Hanes Mall, Friendly Shopping Center
Knoxville TN U. of Tennessee 19.30 Knoxville Center, West Town Mall, Pikesville Road
Madison WI U. of Wisconsin 19.30 Greenway Station, East Towne Mall, Hilldale, State Street, West Towne Mall
Ogden UT Weber State 19.19 Newgate Mall
Little Rock AR U. of A. at Little Rock 18.91 Midtowne Little Rock, Shackleford Mall, Promenade at Chenal
Wichita KS Wichita State 18.73 Bradley Fair, Towne W. Square
Harrisburg PA   18.66 Shoppes at Susquehanna Marketplace; but see
Lancaster below
Grand Rapids MI Grand Valley State 18.56 Woodland Mall
Toledo OH Univ. of Toledo 18.46 Franklin Park (2Q '05)
Manchester NH   18.26 Mall of New Hampshire
Youngstown OH Youngstown State 18.18 Souther Park Mall
Stockton CA Univ. of Pacific 18.12  
Chattanooga TN Univ. of Tenn. Chat. 18.10 Hamilton Place Mall
Lansing MI Michigan State 17.86 Lansing Mall
Portland ME Univ. Southern Maine 17.78 The Maine Mall
Anchorage AK Univ. of Alaska 17.60  
Greenville SC Clemson 17.55 Greenville Mall, Haywood Mall
El Paso TX Univ.Texas El Paso 17.35 Sunland Park, Cielo Vista Mall
Fresno CA Cal State Fresno 17.20 Fashion Fair Mall
Scranton PA   17.05 The Mall at Steamtown
Provo UT Brigham Young,
Utah State Valley C.
16.74 Provo Towne Centre, Shops at Riverwood
Jackson MS Jackson State 16.71 North Park Mall, Colony Park
Mobile AL U. of S. Alabama 16.64  
Vallejo CA   16.59  
Ann Arbor MI U. of Michigan 16.41 Briarwood Mall
Peoria IL Bradley 16.33 Northwoods Mall
Lexington KY U. of Kentucky 16.30 Fayette Mall, Hamburg
Flint MI   16.09  
Davenport IA   16.00 NorthPark
Canton OH Kent State 15.63 Belden Village
Fort Wayne IN IP at Ft. Wayne 15.58 Jefferson Pointe
Boise ID Boise State Univ. 15.50
Montgomery AL several 15.49  
Rockford IL   15.45  
Modesto CA   15.45 Vintage Faire Mall
South Bend IN Notre Dame 15.31  
Lancaster PA   15.21 Park City Center
Springfield MO Missouri State Univ. 15.14 Battlefiield Mall
Charleston WV Univ. of Charleston 15.09 Town Center, Kanawha Mall
Shreveport LA   14.98 Mall St. Vincent
Kalamazoo-Portage MI W. Mich. University 14.95  
Eugene OR U. of Oregon 14.87 Valley River Center
Huntsville AL UAH, Redstone Ars. 14.87 Parkway City Mall, Bridge Street Towne Center
Long Beach CA Cal State Long Beach 14.83  
Salinas CA   14.74  
Beaumont TX   14.62  
Tallahassee FL Florida State 14.47 Governor's Square
Fayetteville AR U. of Arkansas 14.28  
Evansville IN U. of S. Indiana 14.27 Eastland Mall
Reno NV U. Nevada-Reno 14.25 Meadowood, Summit Sierra
York PA   14.09  
Corpus Christi TX   14.03  
Port St. Lucie FL   13.79  
Reading PA   13.73  
Utica-Rome NY   13.72  
McAllen TX Univ. of Tex.-Pan Am 13.50 La Plaza Mall
Savannah GA   13.19  
Visalia CA   12.87 Visalia Mall
Killeen TX   12.82 Killeen Mall
Brownsville TX   11.28  
© copyright 2010 ifoAppleStore.com
as of Sept. 25, 2010

Source: Bureau of the Census, 2003 American Community Census; U.S. News & World Report, "America's Best Colleges," 2005 Edition

Unranked Potential Cities

The following cities are not ranked, but have the potential for a future Apple retail store. Locations highlighted in gray indicate that a future store has been
confirmed for the location.

Metro Area State Mall Sites
Anchorage AK 5th Avenue Mall
Ann Arbor MI Main Street (street-level)
Aspen CO South Galena Street (street-level)
Boulder CO Pearl Street (street-level), 29th Street
Charlottesville VA Barracks Road, Fashion Square
Columbia SC Columbiana Center
Colorado Springs CO Briargate, First and Main, The Citadel
District of Columbia DC Georgetown, Gallery Place-Chinatown
Greensboro NC Friendly Shopping Center
Jacksonville FL The Avenues
Memphis TN Oak Court Mall, Carriage Crossing
Milwaukee WI Mayfair Mall
Naples FL Waterside Shops at Pelican Bay
New Haven CT Greenwich Ave., Stamford Town Center
Santa Barbara CA State Street, Paseo Nuevo
Santa Fe NM town square (street-level)
Sarasota FL St. Armands Circle
Springfield MA Holyoke Mall
© copyright 2010 ifoAppleStore.com

Existing Cities - More Stores

These cities and metro areas with existing retail store have the strong potential for adding more stores: