Lets Start off with a Chart.
I’ve noted down the estimates that have created a flurry i.e. TechCrunch’s 240,000 sold by end of July figure, and Mr. Mahaney’s initial and revised estimates – the latter of which precipitated a 9% increase in Amazon’s stock price.
There is also a more detailed chart (click on the thumbnail to bring it up) if you’re interested in looking at the monthly sales numbers –
Figuring out Kindle Sales estimates is, given the limited information released by Amazon, pure guesswork. Its in Amazon’s interest to keep these numbers secret since it adds to the buzz and mystery. Almost as importantly, it keeps competitors unsettled. Rather than guess one number, I thought it makes more sense to come up with a range, based on the facts and some intelligent assumptions.
Here are the main figures I came up with –
- In the best case, the Amazon Kindle is on track to sell 570,000 Kindles by end of 2008. This includes the assumption that Kindle V2.0 is released before Christmas Season. I really think Amazon’s public denial of a new Kindle version is to sustain sales of V1.0 and keep competitors guessing. If they mess up and don’t release a Kindle V2.0 (which would be a huge lost opportunity) then the best case estimate is 475,000 kindles sold.
- In the worst case, the Amazon Kindle is on track to sell 128,000 Kindles, and 102,00 if they don’t release new versions. My personal opinion is that there is less than 1% probability of Kindle sales figures being anywhere close to this number.
My personal intuition says that Amazon is close to or even exceeding the best case estimates – since i have no facts to back that up I’ll stick to the chart figures instead. Here are some of the facts, datapoints and related assumptions I used to come up with the Kindle Sales Estimates. After that I just used Guesstimating and analysis, and threw out the highest and lowest figures, like olympic diving judges would. My best case and worst case estimates in the chart actually exclude outlier points.
- Sold out within 4.5 hours. It’d be reasonable to expect that Amazon had an initial stock of somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 Kindles.
- Delays of 5-6 weeks in December and January. Delays continue until end of April.
- Availability of the Kindle on April 21st. It took 6 months to ramp up production to the point where supply met/exceeded demand.
- PVI’s (the kindle screen manufacturer) fortunes, figures they’ve given out, and manufacturing increases, and finally their exit from the LCD market to focus on eInk.
- Price drop to $359 on May 27th, 2008.
- Rumors of new version, followed by a price discount by Amazon, and denials of any new versions coming out in 2008. Note that while Amazon has claimed that there are no Kindle versions slated for this year, they have confirmed a version of Kindle for students.
- Various figures from Google such as 19 million search results for ‘amazon kindle’, 74,000 monthly average searches for ‘amazon kindle’ (from google adwords tool), charts from google trends.
- Figures from across the internet, including the size and activity level of official kindle forums, kindle groups, kindle forums and websites across the internet. For these figures and the previous figures I’ve compared the kindle across the board with the iphone and found a ratio of 25:1 i.e. the kindle gets 1/25th the amount of interest that the iphone does.
- Keyword based traffic on my blog and social network (both of which are kindle focused). The blog traffic in particular suggests that interest in the Kindle went up by roughly 50% after shipping delays were eliminated. The first price cut had little effect. The new Kindle versions rumours really decimated interest, and it’s only the new Kindle coupon that has led to a return to levels of interest before the new kindle rumours. Note that these are based on keyword traffic trends and not on referral information (revealing that information would get me into trouble with Amazon) and not on overall traffic.