It’s not all bad news: HTC One sales hit 5 million so far

May 23, 2013
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HTC One Stealth Black 5 1600 aa

Amidst a flurry of negative reports, a glimmer of hope for HTC – the One is selling relatively good, moving five million units since launch.

The last few days brought us a series of worrying news about HTC. According to insiders cited by The Verge, there’s an executive exodus going on at the embattled Taiwanese phone maker, with the company’s Chief Product Officer and top marketing exec leaving for sunnier shores. Then CNET Asia reported that two top executives from HTC Asia, one of the company’s critical markets, have also decided to pursue other interests.

The wave of departures is a sign of internal struggle, but amidst all the bad news, there is a glimmer of hope. According to an anonymous HTC executive cited by WSJ, the crucial HTC One is selling “pretty good so far.”

The executive revealed that HTC sold about five million One units since launch, a performance that is deemed encouraging. However, sales have been limited by the persisting supply issues (documented here and here) that still plague the production of the HTC One.

Here’s the key quote from the HTC executive:

Orders are pretty good so far and are still more than what we can supply. This is partly due to the shortage of components. When the issue is resolved next month, we will have a better idea if it's doing really well or not.

As you can see, the demand for the One is larger than the supply, and the component shortage is only partially responsible, which could be good news for HTC. To speculate, it may mean that customers love the HTC One and that sales could further increase once the manufacturing issues are finally solved.

How good is the 5 million sales figure? Samsung just trumpeted today the reach of the 10 million sales milestone for the Galaxy S4. The HTC One began selling in late March in Germany and the UK, and in late April, in the US, China, and other markets. Given the supply issues and the stuttered release, it’s probably safe to say that the One and the Galaxy S4 have been out for about the same time on the market.

I think that the fact that HTC managed to sell 5 million Ones in about a month of full availability is encouraging. Consider that HTC is nowhere near the influence it had in its heyday, and it now lacks the carrier clout and marketing spending power that Samsung uses so liberally. So the fact that HTC managed to sell half as many phones as Samsung is a pretty good sign.

We’ll see how the HTC One does once the supply issues are fully resolved, but so far, it’s good news for Peter Chou, who reportedly vowed to step down from the top of HTC if the One fails to bring a turnaround to the company.

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