Samsung admits Galaxy Tab sales smaller than stated

Tablet maker comes clean about "2 million" sales figure, revealing that the number refers to units shipped to retailers and not actual consumer sales, according to news report.

A clarification was made to this story. Read below for details.

Samsung has admitted that the reported 2 million sales figure for its Galaxy Tab device refers to the volume of units shipped to retailers and wireless companies, and not actual number sold to consumers, according to a news report.

The Korean electronics giant dropped the revelation during its quarterly earnings call last week, according to a report Monday in the Wall Street Journal.

The article quoted Lee Young-Hee, Samsung's head of mobile marketing, to say that the number of Galaxy Tabs sold to consumers has been "quite smooth" but did not provide actual sales figure.

Lee, in a response to an analyst, described Samsung's "sell-in" to be "quite aggressive" and around 2 million, compared to its "sell-out" which was "quite smooth". Sell-in refers to Samsung's sales to distributors, while sell-out points to distributor's sales to consumers.

Three months following the official release of the tablet, Samsung announced that 1 million Galaxy Tabs were sold in December last year, growing later to 2 million in January, stated the Wall Street Journal.

Young said in the article: "We believe, as the introduction of a new device, it was required to have consumers invest in the device. So therefore, even though sell-out wasn't as fast as we expected, we still believe sell-out was quite OK."

While she did not provide a forecast, Young said Samsung is "quite optimistic" about 2011 sales. "As you know, the tablet is relatively new and we need to see how the market develops before we give any firm numbers," she said in the report.

The company's first Android-powered tablet, touted as a close rival to Apple's iPad, made its debut in Singapore last November.

Meanwhile, Microsoft last week announced it sold more than 2 million Windows Phone 7 devices, but had stated that the figure represented handsets sold to mobile operators and not consumers.

Clarification: Samsung has clarified that Wall Street Journal misinterpreted Lee who had said "quite smooth", and not "quite small", when asked about the sale of Galaxy Tab. The story has been updated to reflect the change.