Samsung Tab Afterglow Reality Check: ‘Quite Small’ Sales, Quite Large Returns

If you are like me, you love the iPad but were thrilled to see Samsung doing well with the Galaxy Tab. I wrote back at the beginning of December how the Galaxy Tab had sold 1 million units in two months, and Doug wrote about more mainstream attention being paid to the wonderful little Tablet. Personally I think we all benefit from competition – just look at the huge things Nintendo has done in 6 years with the DS in the face of competition from Sony and Apple compared to the tiny changes they made to the GameBoy over 15 years!

So the latest news out of Samsung is just plain sad. Turns out the Galaxy Tab isn’t a phenomenal success after all … in fact, it isn’t even a marginal success. Worse still, the relatively poor sales are being worsened by an astronomical return rate.

Depressed yet? Leave now, it isn’t getting better from here.

Regarding sales, this article at GottaBeMobile has the details:

Per a report from WSJ, Samsung exec Lee Young-hee said, “in terms of sell-out [sale to end-user], we also believe it was quite small.” She goes on to say, “we still believe sell-out was quite OK.” No hard numbers here, but “small” and “OK” aren’t exactly confidence-building adjectives.

The ‘sell in’ that Samsung refers to is what they ship to distributors. According to the linked WSJ article, the two million ‘sold’ is the ‘sell in’ amount … made even worse because Samsung says “our sell-in was quite aggressive”, meaning they dumped tons of units into every possible corner of the retail universe.

As for returns, an article at AllThingsD tells the tale of woe:

ITG Investment Research tracked point-of-sale data from nearly 6,000 wireless stores in the US from the Galaxy Tab’s November debut through Jan. 15 and found the device to have an unusually high return rate. According to its estimates, cumulative return rates for the Galaxy Tab through December of 2010 were about 13 percent. Worse, that percentage is growing as holiday purchases are returned. ITG figures cumulative Galaxy Tab return rates through January 15 were 16 percent. Ugly, considering the return rate for the iPad at Verizon since its debut on the carrier is just 2 percent.

I can’t think of a word other than ‘dreadful’ to describe this. Here we have THE most promising Android Tablet of 2010, as of now the only non-crap competitor to the iPad … and we are learning that the sales were way less than originally reported, AND that they are being returned at a rate even higher than Linux netbooks during the netbook craze. Right after we learn that Apple sold ~70% more iPads than were predicted at mid-year, too.

Sadly I would say that the shine is off the so-called Android tablet craze that apparently never was, and it is going to take something really good to make the Motorola Xoom and other upcoming devices register with consumers. What do you think about all of this?


About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!