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Stephen Colbert added “truthiness” to the lexicon, but Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) is surely the master of “mathiness”–fuzzy numbers-ish public sta…

Amazon Kindle Fire games
photo: Amazon

Stephen Colbert added “truthiness” to the lexicon, but Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) is surely the master of “mathiness”–fuzzy numbers-ish public statements that tout the Kindle’s massive success without actually stating how many Kindles or e-books have been sold. (This 2010 press release, with its mentions of Christmas Day and the contents of Amazon’s “most remote shipment” to the Arctic Circle, might be my favorite example.) That’s never stopped analysts and others from trying to fill in some actual data–an urge that has increased sharply with the announcement of the Kindle Fire.

Since Amazon unveiled its $199 Kindle Fire tablet (and three new Kindle e-readers) a week ago, pre-order numbers (and how they compare to those for the iPad) have become a topic of major speculation. First up: eDataSource, an e-mail marketing firm that estimates the Kindle Fire sold 95,000 units the first day it was available for pre-order through Amazon’s site.

eDataSource says its “panel of 800,000 inboxes” allows it to analyze “purchase receipts received by e-mail” and then “estimate the daily orders placed at major e-commerce sites as well as what products are being purchased.” Combined sales of the three other new Kindles totaled 25,000 for the first day, eDataSource says.

Estimates are one thing, but purportedly leaked sales data is better: The blog Cult of Android says a “verified source” provided it with “exclusive screenshots of Amazon’s internal inventory management system Alaska (Availability Lookup and SKU Aggregator),” showing that 254,074 Kindle Fires were pre-ordered in the first five days: “over 2,000 units per hour, or over 50,000 per day.” (If accurate, these figures would suggest that eDataSource’s estimate is too high.)

This puts the Kindle Fire on track to beat the iPad and iPad 2’s first-month sales, Cult of Android says. The site also says that leaked data shows 20,249 new Kindle Touch WiFis pre-ordered in the first five days, and 12,467 Kindle Touch 3Gs pre-ordered. (I’ve asked Amazon for comment on whether these sales reports are real, but I think a response is unlikely.)

Finally, using a fuzzy metric that Amazon would love, Experian Hitwise measures UK web searches for the Kindle Fire versus the iPad and finds that the search term “Kindle Fire” was twice as popular as the term “iPad.” Amazon has not announced a release date for the Kindle Fire in the UK. My comparison of the search terms in the U.S. in *Google*Trends suggests that iPad searches are still more popular.

All this goes to show–well, probably what you already knew: The Kindle Fire appears to be emerging as the first credible competitor to the iPad, and that’s an exciting idea–though not necessarily what Amazon is aiming for (though it’ll be interesting to see whether Amazon makes any iPad sales comparisons in its future mathy press releases).

The new Kindle e-readers are getting less attention, but the figure I’d most like to see leaked would be orders for the new $79 Kindle with Special Offers, which is available now. According to Amazon, it’s the company’s second best-selling electronic product after–yep–the Kindle Fire.

  1. You state in referring to this quote “over 2,000 units per hour, or over 50,000 per day.” the following” (If accurate, these figures would suggest that eDataSource’s estimate is too high.)”

    It suggests no such thing.  It is perfectly reasonable to think that the very first day of orders would show a spike…hence the 95,000 figure of eDataSource.   Just because the Cult of Android screenshot shows 254, 074 for the first five days doesn’t in any way mean they were evenly distributed across those days.  

    It could very well be the first date had an expected spike of say approximately 95,000 and then we have the following four days significantly lower…around 37,500 avg per day.   If that 37,500 avg of the following days were to continue for the next 6 weeks until the date the Kindle Fire comes out it would be over 1.7 million devices pre-ordered before the 15th of November.   

    It most likely won’t be that high since the first five days after the announcement understandably had the Kindle Fire very heavily in the media and influenced pre-order numbers but even half that amount would be a huge success.  We analyze the figures in more detail at http://kindlefireforums.com

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