Why Sales Matter Most

I admit to being biased. I work at a company that tracks actual sales results and I spent 10 years at retail. I have always lived and breathed sales results. And while shipments are a great tool (and I worked at a place that tracked those as well), the final verdict of success or failure of an item is sales. If a consumer puts down their hard earned money for a product you can be sure that they saw some spark of value or usefulness to their lives in that device. That is why it is shocking to me that many folks in this industry don’t understand the difference between sales and shipments – and often confuse them in the most basic ways. The latest example is a report this week in DigiTimes and repeated all across the web that the Barnes & Noble Nook out-shipped the Kindle in March. Note I said, and DigiTmes said as well, shipped, not sold. This has caused shock and disbelief throughout the blog community. We will now hear for a few days about how the Kindle is doomed; the iPad is killing it, and various other conspiracy theories.
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E-reader Distribution Deals Kindle Sales Beyond A Nook

Visit Amazon.com’s home page and you’ll learn that the Kindle is the retailer’s best-selling product (even beating out 50″+ rear-projection televisions). That’s not too surprising given the momentum of the category as well as its shipping-friendly dimensions. But the Kindle’s success at Amazon has also been helped by the device being sold exclusively there, whereas Amazon must compete with other retailers for nearly all of its other products.

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Tunnels To The Television

At the DisplaySearch blog, my colleague Paul Gagnon examines the proposed Hulu subscription service and expresses concern that the service could be jeopardized by fearful cable stakeholders. Indeed, cable companies, such as Comcast, have likely been pressuring broadcasters such as NBC, which have in turn pressured Hulu to vigilantly block access to any device or software that is designed to display content on the television, as arbitrary as this “line in the sand” may be. A recent example of this was Hillcrest Labs’ Kylo TV browser that debuted at this year’s spring DEMO Conference, but which landed on its face because Hulu suddenly decided to block it.

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A Collective Sigh Of Relief

Last week, when The NPD Group posted video game industry sales results for March, one could almost hear the collective sigh of relief among stakeholders; that after a fairly long drought, there was some good news to report.  The industry recorded a gain of 6 percent in total revenues generated, and along with that top line gain, several records were noted as well.  For me, it’s always more fun to report good news than bad, so here are just a few of the stories pulled from analysis of the data:

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Retail Is Detail

In last week’s frenzy of iPad news it is entirely likely many folks missed the revelation that Microsoft is looking for employees for two new stores to open later this year. New stores do not mean that the concept has proven totally successful, just that Microsoft has seen enough to warrant further experimentation. If you’ve ever been involved in the rollout of retail stores you know that it is hard to keep changing the in-store experience on the fly so, to Microsoft’s credit, they have gone slow in expansion, and of course they can go slow since this is not their primary business, likely gathering up all they learned from their first stores and hoping to improve on the experience in the next two.
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Collateral Damage

Reading the first set of reviews of the iPad I have been struck by one comment: That this is a notebook killer. Our recently completed iPad survey also revealed a considerable amount of overlap in consumers’ perception and usage intentions between the iPad and the notebook. Now, with the first reviews in, our initial assumption in our first iPad blog post appears more correct than ever – the iPad is aimed squarely at the heart of the notebook market. And while we mentioned in that post that the lack of certain features might prevent a direct cannibalization, the initial reviews indicate that, even without those features such as Flash support or a camera, this product can take over much of what your notebook does, and do it more elegantly and more comfortably.

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