Update: The “quite small” comment was a mistake in Samsung’s transcription, apparently. Sales are “quite smooth”!
I had a premonition about this when the previous announcements of Galaxy Tab sales seemed unclear over whether the one million and two million figures were units sold to consumers, or units shipped to distributors. As it turns out, it’s the latter. So how many did they actually sell to people?
Samsung didn’t give any figures, but when a company describes sales of a flagship product as “quite small,” you better believe those sales are microscopic.
This information all comes via Samsung’s recent quarterly earnings call, when historically these kinds of figures are made clear. An analyst asked about the sales numbers until the Samsung exec admitted that the figures they’d touted were shipping figures (sold-in), not devices bought by consumers (sold-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.
Quite small and quite OK. A lot less compelling than “millions.” And since she didn’t elaborate further, I’d have to guess that the real sales are “quite” dismal, perhaps around 10% of the shipping number. With the clock ticking on tablets and the Galaxy Tab suddenly looking “quite” outdated, I think the Tab may be a lost cause.