∞ PlayBook returns high, misses sales targets by 90%

The news just keeps getting worse for RIM’s PlayBook tablet. Not only is the company missing targets, but return rates for the device are quite high.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]Citing a source from a big box retailer, BGR on Friday said the PlayBook missed the retailer’s internal projected sales targets. RIM didn’t just miss the targets by a little — according to the source, the PlayBook fell short of the targets by over 90 percent.

Not being able to sell the PlayBook is a problem in itself, but it seems that many of the devices sold are being returned. According to the source, the PlayBook’s return rate is higher than the Motorola Xoom, which has a high return rate of 7 percent.

RIM contacted The Loop on Friday disputing what the source said.

“The source of the reported comment is anonymous and unknown to RIM, but the comment is certainly inconsistent with the positive feedback we have received from our main retail partners,” said RIM in the statement. “As previously indicated, RIM will provide a business update on BlackBerry PlayBook results on June 16.”

RBC Capital Markets General Manager Mike Abramsky said in a note to clients on Wednesday that according to his channel checks, sales have been steady since the launch of the device. Abramsky predicted that RIM sold about 250,000 units in the first month.

In comparison, Apple sold more than 300,000 original iPads in the first day.

In late April, RIM warned that it would not meet guidance for its first fiscal quarter of 2012. The company blamed lower shipments of BlackBerrys for the shortfall.

Update: Added statement from RIM 11:40 am PT

  • Anonymous

     Amateur hour is over… (???)

    • Cris

      Not yet, give it another 3 months.

      • Anonymous

        You’re saying iPad dominance will end 3 months from now?  I’ll save the date. 😉 

        • Cris

          No, I am saying that RIM Playbook will be pulled from the market in 3 more months, and the amateur hour will finally be over 😉

          • Anonymous

            Ah!  I couldn’t agree more!  I’m used to tech fights on blogs, nice to hear something reasonable. 

          • Unlikely. Its already the fastest selling iPad competitor, based on North American sales alone. When this thing hits core BlackBerry markets in Europe and Asia, its going to be difficult for any Android OEM to keep up.

          • Crafty

            Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

          • Cris

            Did you miss the part that says that RIM missed there sales target by as much a 90%. What makes you think Europeans are suckers? If the Playbook is the fastest selling competitor to the iPad, it only proves just how bad everyone else is doing.

          • You’ve misread the article. RIM haven’t missed their sales target at all – 250k sales this month is very impressive for the Playbook. The article refers to the success of one individual retailer. Clearly the fortunes of different retailers vary.If 250k is ‘90%’ behind projections, then the projections would have been higher than those for the iPad, which would be insane.

            This is like Apple reporting in one city that they iPad sales are slow, then assuming that, despite high overall sales, the iPad is failing.

          • You’re rebutting one bad statistical method while embracing another that’s only a little better.

            It’s unwise to quote sales channel checks as is they’re true sales data. It’s like when news media uses exit polls to predict winners of elections: sometimes close, sometimes hilariously wrong.

          • His Shadow

            I have to agree. Under no circumstances would RIM imagine they would sell 2.5 million Playbooks in a month. 

          • Yes well, death is the leading competitor to living.

    • Crashnoww


  • Londonmarlo

     They should just quit the tablet market. It will be better than creating more bad reputation for the company.

  • But when they finally get Bridge working, it’ll be a great Blackberry accessory, right?

    • Ian

       Hey when Bridge starts working thats when I’ll get rid of the Playbook. I love being disconnected from the home office and not having to deal with annoying and waste of time e-mails. When I (do finally) arrive at appointments I just wave that Playbook around and get no flak at all for being completely out of the loop. The regained sense of ease and independence that I have achieved has reduce my stress levels as well as my blood pressure. Life is grand.

      • I’d say you just made a case for enterprise-level success.

  • BoredInOttawa

    I want to stop reading these articles, but I can’t… Its like driving by a car wreck… Sigh  

  • If they are indeed shifting 250,000 a month (in just the US and Canada so far) then they are more than meeting expected sales, so this isn’t really RIM’s problem at all. 

    All this report indicates, is that the retailer in question is under-performing relative to their competitors, and isn’t winning their share of that 250,000 sales. Bad marketing? Poor promotions? Poorly trained staff? Who knows?

    To blame RIM for the failure of one retailer is a bit misguided, when the product is selling very well at competing retailers.

    This thing is going to fly off the shelves in Europe and Asia next month. We don’t have the same level of protectionist sentiment running through our media, and all this negativity from the US towards RIM just looks weird from this side of the Atlantic.

    • Tracy Haynes

       You’re making way, way too many assumptions. Fly off the shelves? Even Blackberry’s best selling phones aren’t ” flying off the shelves”. And one also has to take into account the shocking rate of returns. That’s when the customer’s actions are basically saying ” you’ve failed to convince me I need this thing. I want my money back. Now”.  That’s a heck of a lot more serious than just not selling enough.  RIM has been a great company in the past. They’re either going to have to fix this device or drop it altogether. Whatever they do, they’d better hurry.

    • Anonymous

       Buddy, those 250K are shipped into the channel, not sold to end users.  The sell through rate is tiny, and a large percentage of that already tiny number are being returned.  Plus the 9K recall.

      Playbook’s goose is cooked.

      • Did you actually look at the sales report? It explicitly refers to end user sales. It was conducted primarily by contacting main retail partners (including the big ones like Best Buy) and identifying how many of each model had sold, to form an estimate of overall sales through all channels.

        Its a far more accurate way of measuring sales than one lone report about one individual retailer.

        • Honix

          Did you look at the SOURCE of the sales report? Mike Abramsky is an employee of RBC which, in case you’re acronymically challenged, is the Royal Bank of Canada which makes a market in RIM stock. To add to the dubious quality of the sales report, Abramsky’s boss sits on RIM’s board. Further, if you look at Abramsky’s report, he is extrapolating based on percentages sold of each model at the sales channels he contacted. If a store was sent only 2 16G Playbooks and sold 50% that adds up to 1. I’d like to see more definitive numbers before I swallow Abramsky’s 250,000 units “sold” figure.

      • Jettgerbil

        Ted_T….. before you blog get your facts staright……937 recalled not 9k .

        Fact:  How many Ipad2’s were shipped that were defective…..”ALL” of them they can’t run FLASH.

      • Jth9234

        9k? As in 9000? I thought it was 900 recalled? More disinformation? 

      • Anonymous

        I own a iphone 4 and now a playbook;   the device itself is way better than the ipad2— all it needs is more apps and all those critics will stop talking crap.   Not sure why everyone is so concerned about the sell through (unless you own stock).   Sorry to the apple fanboys here — apple will not own the world.

    • Anonymous

      Those inscrutable Americans…what are they up to now?

      I’m glad to hear the opinion of one guy, on a blog, in a comment, speaking for millions of people on “this” side of the Atlantic. It can only be protectionist sentiment. I mean, the US buys NOTHING from companies like Samsung and Sony.

  • STL

    So much trash talk from fanrims after their CEOs trash talked iPad for months. No reason to believe any good news vomited from the trash talkers mouths or PR releases. Playbook is a turd. Brown and simple. . poetic justice

  • Jth9234

     The media definitely hypes up every Apple launch, some of it is Apple’s own brilliant marketing and the facade of a “magical” event. Often Apple first only sells their new products in Apple stores and lines form, American news media seems to love to show these clowns camping out for some new device.

    RIM doesn’t have that kind of following or media buzz. Yet they still sell a lot of Blackberry smartphones and the Playbook is selling relatively well despite some pretty hateful reviews that focused on some really strange things. I wouldn’t call the majority of reviews objective, its as if they felt threatened and had to knock features they knew about for months that they planned to hate without shedding any light on this great device.

    Do any critics really say things like the Playbook has better screen resolution, speakers, more portable, can run a unique Bridge app, play Flash with every real site, can run Amazon Cloud HD, has apps for many of the major sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Slacker, etc.? Nope. They hated the button? They hated… well I am not even sure, just really unfair scathing reviews that I can say after using the PB for a month were very inaccurate. A lot of disinformation out there…

    • Honix

      “can run a unique bridge app…” Translation: HAS TO do a lame tethering to a Blackberry in order to have access to company email, contacts and calendar.

      “has apps for many of the major sites like Facebook, Twitter…” These are not apps. These are links to websites. I don’t think the word “App” means what you think it means.

      • Jth9234

        You obviously haven’t tried them, they are apps, not the exact same websites.  

    • Player_16

      There is one site that gave it a thorough review: Ars Technica. Their major product reviews are usually pretty critical. They’ve been around since the late ’90’s. Not so many ‘kids’ blog the site like c/net or BGR.

  • Bigzen

     I doubt the naysayers about rimm have even tried a playbook. Consumers spending 400 to 700 are going to research all devises and the playbook is on top today.

    • It’s certainly on top of the list of expensive Blackberry phone accessories.

      • Jth9234

        Ahh stupid flame game, my turn. The Ipad is a bigger Ipod Touch. See, that was fun! No wait, thats stupid…

        • Anonymous

          apple fanboys could have saved themselves $300. lol

          • I love helping Jim make page-hit money. Let’s insult each other some more. Invite all your little friends from gizmodo and techcrunch, too.