A misquoted phrase is threatening to overshadow a more important story relating to the very high return rates of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Samsung’s Lee Young-hee said sales of the company’s Galaxy Tab were “quite small.” However Samsung has since pointed out that what she actually said was that sales were “quite smooth” and released an audio clip to prove its point (see below). This is quite clear and the Wall Street Journal have since said the mix-up happened because of a transcript provided by Samsung, but whatever happened this story could potentially hide the real issue – that the Galaxy Tab has a return rate of 15 percent.
When we reviewed the Galaxy Tab last year, it caused quite a bit of discussion (as you can hear in this podcast) in TR Towers with the end result being an overall score of 6/10. Earlier this week, Samung claimed it had shipped 2 milllion of the Android tablets by the end of 2010. It seemed as if people were happy with the first real iPad competitor.
However figures released subsequently by ITG Investment Research claim that the Galaxy Tab had a return rate of 15 percent. The company tracked about 6,000 retail stores in the United States from the November date of release of the tablet through 16 January, and the return rate hovered around 13 percent, rising even further – to about 16 percent – with holiday sales returns.
While these are only estimates, a survey sample of 6,000 stores is a sizable pool of information. When you compare the reported return rate of just 2 percent for the iPad, Samsung should be worried about customer dissatisfaction with its Tab. Some claimed that Samsung rushed the Tab to market to try and challenge the iPad but with Motorola, RIM, LG and many others bringing out tablets in the coming months, Samsung will have to up its game to compete.