Samsung ships 2 million Galaxy Tabs to wholesale. Retail is much lower. Less then Samsung expected

Yesterday Samsung reported that they have shipped 2 million Galaxy Tabs in the first three months since launch. A pretty impressive figure for a newly launched tablet running non-tablet Android 2.2.

However, the tidbits Samsung has let slip during it’s Q4 2010 earnings conference call makes me think that not everything is as rosy as Sammy wants it to appear.

This 2 million Galaxy Tabs shipped – is the number of units  delivered to the wholesale channel (mobile operators, electronics wholesalers, and retail chain stores like Best Buy or Dixons, etc;). It is the standard way OEMs report their numbers, and usually I won’t think twice about it.

But here’s an interesting exchange that occurred during Q4 earnings CC between Samsung’s Mobile Communications Senior VP Mrs. Younghee Lee and one of the analysts:

Q. My next question is about Galaxy Tab. I’m hearing that sell-in number for Galaxy Tab is pretty good, but sell-through number is quite bad. That’s what I heard from the market. Could you clarify Galaxy Tab sell-in and sell-through numbers in Q4 2010. And if there’s any guidance for the 2011 Galaxy Tab numbers please let us now. Thank you

A. About your question about the sell-in and sell-out. As you have heard,  our sell-in number was quite, you know… aggressive, first quarter unit number was around 2 million. In terms of sell-out, we also believe that it was quite smooth. We believe (that) as for the introduction of new device, it was required to have consumers to understand this new device. So therefore, even though the sell-out wasn’t as fast as we expected, we still believe that sell-out was quite OK. And based on this figure, we think that numbers in 2011 will be quite increased. Based on first quarter of launch in 2010, makes us quite optimistic forecasting this year. We will still have to see, however we are quite positive about sell-in and sell-out, both.

(emphasis mine)

With overall Android sales Samsung has achieved in 2010, they have every right to be optimistic about 2011. And, as the Android tablets with Honeycomb start shipping – I expect Samsung to sell a lot of them.

However with Samsung Galaxy Tab the situation appears to be different. All these qualifiers and evasions about the need of user education, in response to the straightforward question – Are the consumers buying Galaxy Tab? – makes me think that there should be a lot Tabs sitting on the retail shelves around the world.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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