Acting as armed guards protecting the honor of the Queen, tech blogs and press across the Internet exploded in unison yesterday in an effort to right wrongs committed against the magical, and apparently peerless iPad. A report on Monday suggested that Android tablets — namely the Samsung Galaxy Tab — had finally put a dent in the iPad’s consumer tablet market share, causing it to drop from 96% to 77% last quarter. The firm issuing the report was immediately ambushed by the iPad army… those are shipments, not sales to end users, it cried. Of course Strategy Analytics, the firm behind the report, was indeed comparing apples to apples, of course, using Android tablet shipments as well as iPad shipments in its report.
As it turns out, however, Apple fans may have stumbled upon a more legitimate claim against Strategy Analytics’ report. Another study, this time conducted by ITG Investment Research, claims that the Galaxy Tab has an unusually high return rate. This, coupled with a vague comment from a Samsung executive, could mean that Samsung’s sell-out and retention figures for the Galaxy Tab are less than stellar. ITG Investment Research used data collected from almost 6,000 U.S. retailers from November through mid-January to determine that the Galaxy Tab has a high return rate.
The study found that 15% of Tabs purchased in the U.S. were ultimately returned. The only frame of reference offered by ITG’s study, as reported by the New York Post, is that only 2% of iPads sold through Verizon Wireless stores have been returned. In other words, these findings are based on sales of less than 18% of global Galaxy Tab shipments and iPads sold only by Verizon. Verizon Wireless is hardly thought to have received the bulk of the 7.3 million iPads Apple shipped last quarter, but 2% is of course an impressive return rate nonetheless. ITG also neglects to give any indication of the Galaxy Tab’s performance in markets outside the U.S., where an estimated 1.65 million out of Samsung’s 2 million Galaxy Tabs were shipped.