Blog Post

Samsung says Galaxy Gear smartwatch sales hit 800k. What’s a “sale”?

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, the smartwatch that garnered relatively poor reviews and reported high return rates, has topped 800,000 sales according to the company. Reuters reported the figure on Tuesday morning, just two months after the device launched. Yet Business Korea says industry sources tell it only 50,000 Galaxy Gear devices have been sold. What’s the deal?

Similar to most other mobile device makers, Samsung is likely reporting the number of Galaxy Gear units shipped to retailers; i.e.; devices to be sold. These wouldn’t be actual sales to end customers. Unless Samsung has hooks into every retail partners point-of-sale and inventory systems, it’s simply not possible to know the exact number of actual sales for its smartwatch. This is, therefore, pretty standard industry practice.

But I think Samsung’s commentary is a little disingenuous. The Reuters article ends with this statement from Samsung: “It’s the most sold wearable watch available in the market place…” I guess it all means what you define as “sold.”

I’m a bit leery of the entire situation based on my own hands-on with the Galaxy Gear — it still feels like a bit of work-in-progress to me, even though it recently got a nice software upgrade. Couple that with reviews that were mostly negative — I haven’t seen one that says “Go buy this!” — a higher than the category average $300 price tag and being limited to working with just a few select Samsung device for now. I just don’t see the 800,000 sales figure being representative of reality.

In Samsung’s defense, there have been some phone and watch bundles through retailers. If you purchase a Galaxy Note 3 smartphone through some retailers, you can get a free Galaxy Gear. But again, that’s not really a “sale.” The transaction likely puts a little revenue in Samsung’s pocket because the retailer bought the watch in the first place at a discount. It’s not a vote of confidence from the consumer that the Galaxy Gear is a hit though. And ultimately, that’s what’s going to be the deciding factor in if we call the Galaxy Gear the best smartwatch in the market: More consumers with a Galaxy Gear on their wrist. And I haven’t seen one yet.

4 Responses to “Samsung says Galaxy Gear smartwatch sales hit 800k. What’s a “sale”?”

  1. RobPaulGru

    Apple counts iPhones sales once they are shipped to the carrier, not when a customer buys one and activates service. So if it is good enough for Apple, the same method should be good enough for Samsung.


    Agree, we are yet to see big community adopting Gear !
    About Gear you say ” it still feels like a bit of work-in-progress” and you are probably wright.
    I don’t necessarily think that it is wrong that a product is capable of evolving … but in the Samsung’s case users would have expected a great device with rich features.
    In reality this device falls short on expectations, or better, expectations for such wrist device are not clear yet.
    No doubt watches can gain a lot of extra features, but vendors need to figure better which are the best ones and which eco-system will be able to leverage from it (if it’s only an Android 4.3 Samsung Galaxy then adoption will take time).
    We keep seeing a lot of new smart watch coming, sure each one bring some very good functions and then one will come offering most of those ! When ?