Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD Sales Surge, Bucking Trends and Challenging the iPad Mini

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There is one very clear reason (or rather – TWO) that Apple needed an iPad Mini this year: the success of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire. I wrote about things I love about each device recently, and I also noted an analyst report that pegged Google-based sales of the device at ~1 million for the second quarter. Turns out that things (as always) aren’t so simple.

First off, Amazon went immediately on the attack as Carly noted here, citing that their BEST Kindle Fire HD sales came after the iPad Mini announcement.

Amazon said: “Wednesday was the $199 Kindle Fire HD’s biggest day of sales since launch and up 3x week over week.”

They even put up a graphic comparing the Kindle Fire HD to the iPad Mini touting ‘So Much More for So Much Less’. They have since pulled the page, and at least one item has been proven untrue, but the message is clear: Apple product announcements are not scaring Amazon.

As I said, there is more to the Nexus 7 sales story than was understood in my post. This week we hear from ASUS that Nexus 7 sales are ‘approaching one million a month’:

“At the beginning, it was, for instance, 500K units a month, then maybe 600, 700K. This latest month, it was close to 1 million,” Asustek Chief Financial Officer David Chang told The Wall Street Journal.

Earlier this month, tech blogs were circulating a third-quarter sales estimate of 800,000-1 million Nexus 7s based on an analysis of Google’s revenue figures. Asustek’s comments suggest the actual number was likely higher.

A few thoughts: first, I don’t see the numbers out of whack with my earlier article. Google isn’t the sole seller, and if you look at the solid 500,000 monthly figure at start with some ramping, you have a figure that is likely ~1.75 million units for the quarter total global sales between all retail outlets.

Second, ‘sales’ is a weird word that often doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. For most people, when they walk into a store and buy a Dasani water, THAT is a sale. For others, when the local Coca-Cola bottler took the order to the distributor THAT was the sale. For others when the distributor delivered the bottle to the supermarket warehouse THAT was the sale, and finally for others the sale is when the supermarket transfers inventory to the local store. In technology we hear about ‘sell out’ and ‘sell in’ meaning things closer to ‘shipments vs sales’. In other words … it is all confusing, and at this point only Apple has reasonably trustworthy numbers (not calling others dishonest – though some certainly are, such as Sony and PSP ‘sales’ – but rather pointing out the confusion this business model creates).

But most importantly, the ASUStek executive was very deliberate in providing direction – the sales have clearly increased with each passing month, and even after a full quarter appear to be gaining more traction. This is counter to any non-Apple or Amazon tablet sales distribution to date, and it shows something important … people LOVE their Nexus 7, and are telling friends it is a great value – and those friends are buying.

This world – one of two tablets in the $200 – $250 range that are selling well, with no fear of Apple and with growing word of mouth popularity – is the one the iPad Mini walks into. With a price higher by $80 – $130, a screen with lower resolution, and a last-gen processor, it isn’t clear how the iPad Mini will stack up to the competition.

We will know soon enough whether Apple can change the market, but make no mistake – Amazon changed the market last year with their low-cost decent entry, and this year both Amazon and Google have changed it again with highly capable low-priced tablets that balance compromises to deliver something consumers enjoy. How will the iPad Mini fare in THAT world?

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1 reply

  1. When considering numbers shipped from a factory in east Asia, don’t forget shipping time. At a million units/month, they’re probably going by boat, so about 20 days to Long Beach (CA).