Merchant Innovation

Amazon Fire Sales Ice Cold

Amazon has sold only 35,000 of its new Fire phones in the first 20 days after it went on sale in July, according to data crunched by the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper.

Amazon doesn't release sales figures for any of its devices. But using data from Chitika, which measured activity from Fire phones on its ad network, the newspaper calculated that Fire accounted for about 0.015 percent of U.S. Internet activity.

Combining that with data from comScore, which pegs the number of U.S. smartphones at between 175 million and 177 million, multiplies out to only about 26,400 phones. Even including a fudge factor, in case Fire users just don't use their phones to surf the web as much as other smart phone users, a best estimate is under 35,000.

Industry observers said before the launch that Amazon needed to get mobile commerce through phones before it risked being disrupted itself as more shopping moved to paps. Amazon designed the phone specifically to make it easy for customers to buy from Amazon, including digital music and video, and the on line retail giant says it's in the smart phone business for the long haul.

But that may not help. The ultimate problem with the Fire phone, according to VentureBeat, is that Amazon ended up with a phone that served itself more than it actually served customers. The need to stay in the game may force Amazon to snap up a smart phone manufacturer out of pure desperation.

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