The Internet is buzzing this morning with news that Samsung has overtaken Apple as the worlds leading smartphone vendor. The problem is, there are no numbers to actually back up the claim.
Here’s an example of how it’s being reported. From GigaOM:
Samsung had a very strong quarter, according to numbers it revealed on Friday to investors. Its shipments (which it doesn’t provide specific numbers for) jumped more than 40 percent during the third quarter. Strategy Analytics estimates that amounts to total sales of nearly 28 million devices, while Apple moved 17 million during the same period.
Wait a minute. Samsung doesn’t provide specific numbers, so we are going to take their word that shipments jumped 40 percent? To make matters worse, Strategy Analytics “estimates” sales of 28 million devices.
Where the hell did they get that number?
Every one of the stories I’ve seen based their numbers on Strategy Analytics. So, let’s take a quick look at that report.
According to Strategy Analytics, Apple sold 17 million iPhones, which is equal to a 21 percent growth rate over the same quarter last year. Those numbers are publicly available in Apple’s own earnings press release.
Note the big difference?
Apple “sold” 17 million iPhones and Samsung “shipped” some number that Strategy Analytics pulled out of their ass.
You cannot compare shipped numbers to sold numbers and come up with a conclusion that one company is beating another. You can’t. A research firm should know that, and I’m sure they do.
I have no doubt that Samsung sold a lot of phones, but until they release actual figures on the number they sold, Strategy Analytics report is meaningless.
Samsung could ship 100 million phones, but that doesn’t tell us how many they actually sold.