Were Nexus One First Week Sales Really That Bad? Here’s My Take…

Interesting estimated Nexus One sales figures from mobile analytics firm Flurry…

Flurry Special Report: Google Nexus One Launch Week Sales

Flurry estimates that the 20,000 Nexus One phones were sold in its first week. This is an extremely small number compared even to the minor hit myTouch 3G with an estimated 60,000 units in its first week. And, it pales next to the 250,000 Droids sold after an extensive (and expensive) Verizon marketing campaign or the amazing 1.6 million iPhone 3GS units sold it their respective first weeks of sales.

Flurry’s speculation for what appears to be extremely weak first week Nexus One sales mirrors my own thoughts.

– No real “wow factor” compared to the iPhone (or even other Android phones)
– Google’s direct sales model
– Lack of co-marketing from T-Mobile. In fact, T-Mobile’s confusing pricing plan for existing T-Mobile customers probably killed a lot of potential sales

Here’s a couple of my own observations…

– Let’s assume that a majority of the 20,000 first week Nexus One sales were to gadget geeks (like me). That’s a lot of geeks willing to part with $529.

– Verizon’s $100 million dollar campaign resulted in 250,000 units sold in the first week. That’s $400 in advertising spent for 250,000 people who paid $199 for each phone (plus the lucrative monthly recurring cost). If we assume Verizon sold about a million Droids so far, that’s still $100 per customer marketing cost. What did Google spend marketing Nexus One? Let’s take a wild guess that it is a million dollars (I’m probably overestimating). That works out to $50 of marketing per actual paying customer in the first week. If a 100,000 units sell in the next couple of months, that works out to about $10 per Nexus One sold. If you look at it that way, Google and HTC got pretty decent sales spending minimal marketing money (if any).

– Finally, I think Google learned a valuable lesson from Microsoft’s confusing multi-year Windows Mobile marketing strategy (if you can call their disasterous path a “strategy”). Every Android-based phone is clearly associated with Google. And, to a lesser extent, many Android phones are identifed with the platform even if the vendor places their own user interface (Motorola Blur, HTC UIsense, etc.). Microsoft’s meandering naming changes (Pocket PC Phone Edition, Windows Mobile Smartphone, Windows Mobile Professional Edition, Windows Mobile Standard Edition, indows Phone) just confused everyone (including Microsoft which didn’t even brand it consistently on Microsoft.com). Even worse, the Windows Mobile branding was completely concealed by the carriers and vendors. No one asked for and looked for Windows Mobile phones because no one (except gadget geeks) even realized there was a Windows Mobile platform.

Will Google’s “build momentum slowly” strategy actually result in ever increasing Android phone sales? We’ll see.