Google has a new smartphone, and if you own a TV or a computer, you've almost certainly heard about it. The ad campaign for the Pixel and Pixel XL is approaching iPhone levels of omnipresence, as Google has reportedly spent over $3.2 million on marketing, with that number expected to skyrocket in the coming months.
But that begs the question: Will all of this advertising translate into real world sales for the Pixel? The short answer is a resounding "Yes," but to really appreciate how well the Pixel's ad campaign has been working, it should be put in context with other flagship smartphone sales.
A recent report has indicated that Google will ship roughly 3 million Pixel phones in the fourth quarter of 2016. That's an impressive sum, especially when you consider that the phone didn't hit shelves until about three weeks into the quarter—but how does it compare to the highest-selling phones out there?
Apple's keeping its iPhone 7 sales figures close to the vest until it's time to report to shareholders at the end of the year, so it's hard to make a direct comparison with the Pixel. But if we compare to the iPhone 6, which shipped 74.5 million units in Q4 2014, we can see that Google still has a long way to go before matching Apple in the smartphone space.
Samsung, on the other hand, shipped about 15 million of its flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge models in the first full quarter that the devices were available. The ill-fated Galaxy Note7 hit sales figures of more than 2 million before it was recalled for battery issues less than two months after its debut, so it's clear that Samsung and Apple are well ahead of the Pixel when it comes to flagship sales.
Now that we've addressed the two major players, let's take a look at how Google's Pixel sales stack up against the rest of the smartphone market.
The HTC 10, which debuted in April 2016, has yet to even reach a total of 1 million shipments. It's worth noting, though, that HTC handled the manufacturing process for the Pixel phones, so they're getting a small piece of the pie.
The LG G5 comes closer to the Pixel's first three months of sales, as the Korean company's flagship device sold 2.2 million units in its first quarter of availability.
The Moto Z, Motorola's modular flagship, sold roughly 1 million units in its first five months of availability, which is well short of the Pixel's figures.
Other manufacturers, like Huawei, have had recent success in global smartphone sales, but have struggled to gain a foothold in the United States. In fact, the US has always been a fairly predictable market when it comes to smartphones, with Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC, and Motorola combining to capture over 90% of all sales.
Google's 3 million Q4 shipments are just the beginning—in fact, the Pixel is expected to reach 8-9 million device sales over the first year of availability. Compare that to the slumping sales of HTC, LG, and Motorola, and it looks like Google has already become the third most popular handset maker in the US on their first try.
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