Google has not released the exact number of Pixels sold, but based on their Q4 2016 ‘other income’ segment (which would include the Pixel), Google generated $3.4 billion, or a 62-percent increase year-over-year. Neil Doshi, an analyst with Mizhuo Securities USA, claims this increase was largely generated by sales of the Pixel and estimates that 1 to 1.5 million of them were sold during the fourth quarter alone. Not a huge number when you consider that Apple sold about 77 million iPhones during the same period and Samsung hit about 15 million Galaxy S7s during it debut three months. Still, analysts are optimistic about the Pixel’s future and believe sales were strong considering it was a little-known product and consumers were not familiar with the Pixel name.
Wave 7 Research looked at the number of phones activated in December 2016 and Pixel accounted for 12-percent. The numbers are not close to the 51-percent of the iPhones activated or the 26-percent of Samsung devices; however, Jeff Moore, principal of Wave7 Research said, “Without question, Google has a hit on its hands and is building a platform for success.” Others have also took note of the Pixel’s popularity as Josh Todd, Localytics’ chief marketing officer indicated that Pixel actions have continued to climb since the device was introduced, especially over the Thanksgiving weekend and during the holidays. He believes the Pixel will be a “strong competitor” and will give Apple and Samsung a run for their money.
Google came out with its Pixel line of smartphones to compete with the likes of the iPhone and Samsung – however, they started on the wrong foot by not having enough Pixels and Pixel XLs in stock to cover the demand. Rather than wait a couple of weeks for Google to restock the device, many potential customers likely moved on and purchased an iPhone or Samsung device. Something else affecting sales was agreeing to make the device an exclusive on the Verizon network and then allow Verizon to advertise heavily about that exclusivity. This decision might have turned many potential buyers away even though they could purchase a Pixel through the Google Store and use it on any of the major US carriers – that piece of information was not advertised enough and could have made a big difference in sales figures. Google may have produced more devices had they allowed other carriers to sell the device, but they grossly miscalculated its popularity. This seems surprising for a company that deals with advertising for its primary income.
Google wants to develop their own ecosystem and have a high-end device that competes against the Samsung Galaxy ‘S’ series and other high-end Android devices. While most other Android devices do incorporate some Google services, some manufacturers also seem to be looking to push their own alternatives to Google's services. Therefore, the Pixel line offers Google a way to ensure their services remain as intended on a dedicated device. Google can certainly afford to make some mistakes with their principal wealth coming in from Internet searches and advertising – however, to keep those services growing, they need to ensure that they are on as many Android devices as possible. Selling more Pixels will help solidify those goals.