Samsung broadcasted yesterday that it has sold 10m Samsung Note 3 smartphones. But is this figure accurate and what does the number really mean?
First it is worth remembering that Samsung’s sales numbers are sales to mobile carriers and or distributors. They are not actual phones sold to you or me or members of the general public. So it is quite realistic to expect stock to be sitting in carriers and distributors warehouses, all unsold.
So is Samsung being naughty with its numbers? No. It has no other sales figures to disclose and therefore that makes it difficult to compare directly to Apple who sell directly to the public and therefore can disclose actual phone sales. But Apple also count sales to carriers etc in their figures, but their sales figures are more accurate due to the nature of manufacturing on demand.
So, how many people actually bought a Samsung Note 3 ? That is totally unknown, but I would conclude we are probably looking circa 5-7m which may appear a high figure but when you examine the facts available in the public domain it represents only 10% of Samsung sales of premium smartphones.
If you recall, the Galaxy S4 has continued to sell far short of Samsung’s initial expectations. So in November, at an investor conference intended to calm the concerns of its investors, a Samsung executive outlined that the company expected to ship a combined total of 100 million premium handsets in its Galaxy S and Note lines.
That figure revealed the first solid proof that the majority of Samsung’s “smartphone sales” this year were actually very low end devices, because it means only one third of the company’s overall shipments are premium phones that could be compared to an iPhone.
Based on Samsung’s numbers it reveals that its big screen Note 3 phablet will account for only a tenth of one third of its 2013 smartphone sales. This highlights that oversized phones are not nearly as popular as is often assumed. The majority of Samsung’s Note phablets sell in Asia, primarily within South Korea itself. Half of the Note 3′s current shipments had occured by then end of October.
IDC defined “phablets” as phones with screens as small as 5 inches, which would also include the Galaxy S4. In total, the research company stated that Android’s premium phones made up just 21 percent of the “smartphone” market, indicating that the remaining 66 percent of Android devices are very low end products with an Average Selling Price of just $214.50.
No wonder Samsung executives are slightly concerned. As a comparison, in the first weekend of sale, Apple sold 9m phones of its 5S/5C.