Amazon may have sold fewer than 35,000 Fire Phones so far


Amazon is quickly learning that 3D gimmicks and a lack of third-party app support aren’t attributes consumers tend to look for in a smartphone, with one report suggesting that the retail giant has sold fewer than 35,000 Fire Phones since the device made its debut back in July.

Amazon never discloses sales figures itself, but companies like Chitika are able to estimate how many units have been sold based on information from sales channels and ad traffic from those devices. According to the company’s latest report, the Fire Phone accounted for just 0.015% of ad impressions in the 20 days following its release.

With that information in mind — and combined with the latest data from ComScore, which suggests that between 175 million and 177 million smartphones are in use in the U.S. right now — The Guardian’s Charles Arthur has done some calculations to try to establish how many Fire Phones have been sold so far.

“Split the difference, and it’s reasonable take 26,400 as a median value,” the report says. But Arthur gives the Fire Phone the benefit of the doubt and assumes it is “under-indexing,” which means that only a small percentage of its users are using the Chitika ad network, and therefore not all are being accounted for.

The 26,400 units is increased by 25%, then, taking it to about 33,000. Another 2,000 units is added to allow for “margins of error,” taking the total to 35,000.

Even 35,000 units is a pretty generous estimation, then; it’s possible that actual the actual Fire Phone sales figures paint an even more worrying picture. Whatever the case may be, it’s pretty clear that the device is struggling right now.

A number of things could account for that. The fact that the device costs $200 upfront on a two-year contract — the same as the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5s — is one of them; its specifications are comparable. The fact that the Fire Phone does not have access to Google Play, but Amazon’s own Appstore instead, is another factor.

Amazon may be able to boost Fire Phone sales with a steep discount. It certainly won’t want to do that so soon after its launch, but with new handsets from competing companies arriving each and every day, and IFA 2014 right around the corner, it will have to do something to grab the market’s attention.