Back in 2011, Samsung proudly announced that it sold 2 million Galaxy Tabs in under six weeks. Unfortunately, while the 2 million figure was correct, that number applied to Galaxy Tabs Samsung shipped to wireless operators and retailers rather than sold to consumers. Based on that announcement, market research company IDC stated that Samsung captured 17 percent of the tablet market, while Strategy Analytics director Neil Mawston called the Galaxy Tab “the main driver of Android success.” According to some internal documents, though, reality is far bleaker.
Based on internal documents obtained by Apple Insider, not only did Samsung know that sales of its Galaxy Tab were low, but the company also purposefully mislead analysts and investors. The “top secret” document above, which is from February 2012, shows that Galaxy Tab quarterly sales hovered in the low hundreds of thousands. By the end of the year, Samsung sold fewer Galaxy Tabs (1 million) than iPads (17.4 million), Kindle Fires (5 million), and even Nook Tablets (1.5 million).
Since Apple sold over 32 million iPads in 2011, Samsung’s figures signify that Apple sold more than half of those were sold here in the United States. In addition, the 32 million iPads sold were greater than the total number of tablets Samsung expected would be sold in 2011 (28.3 million), based on a June 2011 document.
This highlights a key point when it comes to market statistics. There is a fundamental difference between having your product shipped and having them sold to consumers, though people tend to be confused between the two. Just because your product shipped to retailers doesn’t mean it made its way to consumers’ hands; it only means they’re on store shelves.
More recently, reports surfaced that the Galaxy Gear, Samsung’s first foray in the smartwatch market, sold only 50,000 units. Samsung pushed back, saying that it shipped 800,000 Galaxy Gear units. Whether Samsung can push back against Apple in the two companies’ latest patent battle, though, is yet to be determined.