As Apple iPads sell like hotcakes, mountains of unsold tablets pile up in channel

“The phenomenal sales success of Apple’s iPad shows no sign of abating, but sales for all other tablets competitors are stagnating and channel inventories are building,” Paul Kunert reports for The Channel Register.

“US tech titan HP is the latest to correct its prices, trimming £50 off the cost of a TouchPad in an effort to get them shifting, with the 16GB and 32GB versions now available for £349 and £429 respectively,” Kunert reports. “Shaving the equivalent of just 12.5 per cent off the entry level TouchPad and a little over 10 per cent on the 32GB system will hardly breathe new life into flatlining sales.”

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Kunert reports, “Numbers from channel analyst Context, which tracks actual sales out data, show that… in the first week of August, HP resellers and distributors managed to punt just 700 across the Western Europe – 100 in the UK – while HP’s Taiwanese rivals flogged a combined 2,300 devices across the region. In contrast, Apple knocked out 160,000 units through distribution last month and another 43,000 in the opening seven days of this month.”

“The lead Apple has built up in the market since April 2010 looks unassailable with distributors saying that demand for the iPad remains strong. “Whatever I can get I can sell straight away,” said one authorized distie,” Kunert reports. “In fact, iPads are the only tablet devices that several large brokers expressed an interest in, as vendors seek alternatives routes to peddle their wares. ‘There is a mountain of surplus tablets in the channel,’ said one, ‘and they are just not shifting.'”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. All those unsold iPad-killers have already been counted as “units sold/shipped” in the respective financial reports of device makers. Those units will eventually have to be vastly discounted or reported as returns. At this rate the tablet OEMs will never recover development costs.

    1. . . . took me a second because I’m a little dyslexic . . . but then I had a good laugh! For some reason it reminded me of one of my favorite yogi berra quotes . . . “You should always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”

  2. Similarly, others are coming out with Air-like notebooks. But they still have Windows on them. And the Asus one has a mini HDMI out and a proprietary VGA out that requires an adapter. Why not just have an HDMI to VGA adapter? Insanity all around.

  3. All of these products are going to be sold on discount bins during the Holiday season. All of these millions of tablets will eventually end up in people’s hands and whether the manufacturers had wanted or not , have painfully fully subsidized the tablet platform for Google.
    So while market share for Honeycomb will indeed rise on X-Mas morning as many consumers get their hands on a new tablet, who knows what the return rate will be the day after.

  4. iPads are perceived as the “real deal.” Any other pretenders to the throne (peasants with unpleasant hygiene) inevitably give potential buyers a sick feeling as most realize they only have the money for one purchase of this type. If they go for the less than tried and true iPad (with ALL the ecosystem bells & whistles) they look silly. Sort of like the IBM expression “Nobody ever got fired (or looked foolish) for buying an Apple iPad.”

  5. If Apple keeps selling iPads at the high rate it is eventually the quote over time will be “Hotcakes are selling like iPads” instead of “iPads are selling like hotcakes.”

    When I think back when the iPad first came to market and there were those idiots that claimed that no consumers would ever buy iPads, I think that such stupidity would have been like a horse and buggy driver saying that the automobile would never be used by the general public.

    It frightens me that there are such clueless people such as the founder of Acer claiming that iPads and MacBook Airs are just temporary fads. Maybe there is a loss of translation of the word fad in Chinese vocabulary. It just seems unbelievable that there are people in such high positions that totally miss what’s happening around them.

    Apple is just clobbering the industry with the iPad and yet there are so many people that don’t even realize it despite such high sales. The iPad is a solid platform. It’s not like the cheap component Windows netbook that was borne out of low cost in a poor economy.

  6. We all know the terrible state of our garbage dumps worldwide. We don’t need to clog them any further with cast off technology junk. Recycling is crucial to solving this problem. Therefore:

    1) They make terrific big ass skipping stones at the lake.
    2) Use them as oven mitts.
    3) Use them as shooting targets.
    4) Clay pigeon replacements at the shooting range.
    5) Target practice.
    6) Use them as tank treads.
    7) Glue on carpet, sprinkle on catnip, a cat scratching post.
    8) Digital picture frames.
    9) Planks over the windows of condemned buildings.
    10) Glued together as latrine liners and septic tanks.
    11) Dessert plates.
    12) Stepping stones in the garden.

    If you have exciting and new ideas of what to do with unsold trash tablets, please join in and add to the list. Have a happy day! 🙂

  7. The iPad is a wonderful multipurpose tool, anything else is a joke by comparison.

    Why are there always some in a group of otherwise educated people who have trouble seeing the obvious? There is only one iPad.

    Obviously there are a bunch of fools like the retailers like Best Buys who missed the obvious too. Their best bet to cut their loses with unsold Android, HP, and RIM would be to run huge ads until XMAS featuring those ‘tablets for $188 with very tiny print saying all sales were final, no returns.

    Then prepare for it by training their sales staff how to step the incoming customers to the iPad for the real money.

    Customers can not shop other stores for meaningful discounts on iPads as Apple sells at suggested retail all over, so there would be few returns from the bargain hunters.

    Customers using iPads actually show a greater degree of satisfaction for each day they own one. Apple really grows on everyone with use.

    Another way to move the electronic junk would be to sell it to firms that do real estate time share sales. They could pass out flyers saying you may win a free tablet just for sitting through their sales pitch.

    You get the idea, there are a ton of tired and true methods for moving electronic junk that worked before the great depression and will work again.

    There are a ton of Windows users still out there just ripe for an imaginative sales plan to move this mountain of junk.

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