Amazon Fire Phone “best seller” ranking, the advent of a game changer or flash in the pan?

Amazon Fire Phone “best seller” ranking, the advent of a game changer or flash in the pan?
It is certainly too early to call the race that is smartphone market share, but apparent orders for the new Amazon Fire Phone paint an interesting picture when measured against Amazon’s own “best sellers” ranking in its electronics category.

As of the time of this writing, when looking at Amazon’s rankings under “Contract Cell Phones,” the 32GB Amazon Fire Phone ranks number 2 behind the Samsung Galaxy S5 for Sprint. The 64GB Fire Phone ranks number 14.

By contrast, in the broader “Best Sellers in Electronics” category, the 32GB Fire Phone ranks 70 out of 100, though the Galaxy S5 is not on the list and neither is the 64GB Fire Phone. So, perhaps there is some creative figuring going on.  Even so, we do not blame Amazon for promoting its own product.

Whether or not there is any cooking of the “sales rankings” books or not, the industry is watching the Fire Phone closely, despite the relative “meh” much of the tech world gave the device following its announcement.

However, the tech world does not hold much influence over consumer sentiment, and despite the limited ecosystem that Amazon represents when it comes to apps and forking Android, the real result will be determined by how consumers react to the “experience” that the Fire Phone delivers. Given that, Amazon probably does not need to sell that many devices to drive its point.

Taking the price of the phone aside for a moment, Amazon has established one of the most valuable, and recognizable brands in the world today. Its Kindle tablets hold a commanding, if not majority, share of the tablet market. Amazon customers are not a blindly loyal (like the Apple faithful), but the reputation of the brand along with its consumer base is largely positive.

When you consider the price of the phone, on or off contract, it does not distinguish itself from the competition in any discernable way. The same holds true when it comes to specifications too. The hook that Amazon is hoping to sink with this device is the extra year of Amazon Prime, and Amazon’s existing Kindle and Prime customers are certainly the main focus for that feature. By itself, Amazon Prime is $100 per year, and for the money, an Amazon regular sees unbeatable value.

Amazon Prime provides unlimited music streaming, free two-day shipping on any order no matter how large or small, access to a library of over half-a-million books, and unlimited movie and TV streaming (and there is content there that Netflix, Google Play, and iTunes do not carry believe it or not). Just like any service, there are exceptions, but they really are few and far between.

Couple those consumables with Amazon’s own apps, own cloud, own content, et al, and from a macro perspective, you can see why companies like Samsung and LG will be watching Fire Phone sales very closely. If Amazon can ship just a couple million units before the end of the year, that may fit the model to rapidly expand to other consumer markets, like Japan, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany – not insignificant players in any global company’s growth plan, and each with a large enough demographic that can afford to buy the phone at its current price point.

Does Amazon need to outsell any of the big players to call the Fire Phone a success? No. While it is easy to perhaps write it off from a geek’s perspective, Amazon may have formulated success from within its own existing customer base, and we know that is its own little world. That also tells us that it is not a flash-in-the-pan either. By that measure, the Fire Phone is not competing with anyone at all.

By the measure of how it will sell through AT&T retail stores, that is a different story, and it will weigh on the retail experience more than anything. Comparisons with the ill-fated HTC First are apples-and-oranges because Facebook does not offer anything in the way of tangible consumer goods or services. Even with the price advantage the First had, the higher-end competitors were still arguably a better value because they could use Facebook Home too, so why settle on a phone when you can have an app?

For certain, the Amazon Fire Phone is not just an app. Yes, there are arguably some things that are pure gimmick, but gimmicks work with a lot of  consumers.




1. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Flash in the pan. Too damn expensive to intice anyone. The Kindles sell well because they're a good deal. This phone is not a good deal.

2. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Is it just me or the renders of this fire phone make it look like 7" tablet....

3. WinDroid

Posts: 77; Member since: May 20, 2014

I'm glad it's failing. this is Amazon using it's name to sell an overpriced phone. also at&t exclusive is hurting sales a lot more than anything though.

6. rallyguy

Posts: 620; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

I would imagine AT&T paid a lot to be exclusive though.

10. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

I would not pay for an ad-driven phone.

4. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 966; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Flash in the pan. Why? AT&T exclusive, overpriced and will depreciate faster than a Ford, and locked to Amazon content. The latter is why so many people tossed their Kindle Fire shortly after buying it, being AT&T exclusive limits their market potential since lots of people can't stand AT&T service, and the price will keep most people away. The ones that are willing to dump a laptop's-worth of cash for such a device would do so regardless of what features the phone has, whereas the rest of the conscious population would rather spend that on anything else. Kindle Fire suckered people in with a very low price, blindly purchasing it so they could finally say they own a "tablet" (I use that term loosely here), but here stands an Amazon phone priced right out of its league. No need to be duped by price, as we can clearly see its not worth the asking price. At least with a $200 "tablet" we don't feel so bad when it's on the receiving end of a bullet, which is an appropriate action against any Amazon-branded device.

8. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Bezos is going to very shortly learn what a carrier exclusive does to dampen sales of his toy. Whatever sales have occurred could have been at least doubled absent being tied to AT&T.

5. meanestgenius

Posts: 21784; Member since: May 28, 2014

I think this phone will surprise a lot of people, but that's just me.

7. AstronautJones

Posts: 305; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

It will surprise the dozens of people that purchase it

16. meanestgenius

Posts: 21784; Member since: May 28, 2014

More than that will buy it. Your response was lame, btw.

9. jerrycutshaw

Posts: 48; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

I say flash in the pan. Amazon missed their market on this one and I see it going the way of the Facebook phone (also a ATT exclusive) albeit with a little more success. The reason? Too gimicky and overpriced. I completely concur with another poster the reason people were attracted to the Kindle Fire line was the price + content. If Amazon had charged what the other players were charging for their table at the time ($400-600) it would have been little more than a niche for diehard Amazon Prime fans. As it stands it is overpriced, unattractive , barely compelling features, niche phone that simply misses the mark. If they wise up and drop the price to $0 on contract this changes things completely!

11. Totse2k15

Posts: 478; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

$649.00 can get me other high-end smartphones. AT&T is a no for me too.

12. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

who the hell still has AT&T anyway?

13. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2349; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

I do.......yup

14. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Oh, about 97 million Americans, give or take, more then Sprint and T-Mobile combined. Your right.... Insignificant.

15. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

"who the hell still has AT&T anyway?" People like me with grandfathered unlimited data plans and organizational discounts. The unlimited data plan I have is cheaper than many prepay plans.

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