Just after Thanksgiving last year, it was announced that Samsung had sold one million Galaxy Tab units. It was impressive, if not shocking, but no one really questioned the validity of the claim and congratulated Samsung. It appeared as though Android tablets were more popular than expected, even if the software wasn’t primed for the bigger screen.
A few days ago, we reported that Samsung had sold two million Galaxy Tab units, which was surprising that in just about three months since launch, it had been doing so well! Again, we just patted Samsung on the back on a job well done and moved right along.
However, this morning an analytics firm mentioned that Android had grabbed 22% of the tablet market share, causing Apple to slip to just 75%. It turns out that those figures may be inaccurate as the sales of the Galaxy Tab were actually much less than originally reported.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
But during the company’s quarterly earnings call on Friday, a Samsung executive revealed those figures don’t represent actual sales to consumers. Instead, they are the number of Galaxy Tab devices that Samsung has shipped to wireless companies and retailers around the world since product’s formal introduction in late September.
The manufacturer wouldn’t actually confirm sales figures to consumer, but the Samsung executive mentioned in the quote above, Lee Young-hee, said that numbers were “quite small.”
Lee told the analyst:
“Well, your question was on sell-in and sell-out. As you heard, our sell-in was quite aggressive and this first quarterly result was quite, you know, fourth-quarter unit [figure] was around two million. Then, in terms of sell-out, we also believe it was quite small. We believe, as the introduction of new device, it was required to have consumers invest in the device. So therefore, even though sell-out wasn’t as fast as we expected, we still believe sell-out was quite OK.”
Sell-in describes Samsung’s sales to distributors and sales channels, while sell-out is what those distributors sell to actual consumers.
This definitely puts this whole Android tablet thing into perspective. For the past few months now, I was truly shocked – though very impressed – that Android tablets had been selling so well–namely the Galaxy Tab. And as it turns out, it hasn’t been selling as well as I initially thought. Will the numbers for Android change when tablets like the Dell Streak 7 and Motorola Xoom are released? It’s hard to say. Up until now, my impression was that the demand for Google powered tablets was so high that Samsung could push the numbers that it did, but it’s time to reassess those thoughts.