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eReader Market to Shrink This Quarter?

The rumor mongers at Digitimes are back again, and this time they’re making some startling predictions about the ereader sales over the next few months.

According to their tea leaves, Digitimes Research believes that global eReader sales will only hit 2 million in the first quarter of 2012, which is a significant drop from the estimated 9 million sold during the last quarter of 2011. Digitimes also reported that global shipments of eBook readers hit 22.82 million last year.

I don’t believe it.

While this rumor is starting, I think it’s one that should be taken with a large block of salt. Digitimes doesn’t have the best record for reporting leaked rumors (remember the color Kindle?), and that suggests that they don’t have the best contacts with gadget and component manufacturers.

Without people who will talk to them about inside details, it’s going to be rather hard to make accurate predictions about the future of the ereader market. Also, another prediction Digitimes made this week was that the market would peak at 60 million units in 2015. If both predictions are true then we’re going to see a startling reversal, and I just don’t see that happening.

On the other hand, I sent an email to E-ink yesterday and gave them a chance to issue a rebuttal. They didn’t respond, so this rumor could be somewhat true.


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Tyler March 6, 2012 um 11:12 am

I wouldn’t find it hard to believe that e reader sales drop in the first quarter. Fourth quarter was Christmas and the introduction of all the new models (excpet Kobo Touch and Nook Touch) from the major players. First quarter often becomes a ghost town for retailers.

Peter March 6, 2012 um 5:50 pm

It’s can be hard to dig up YOY comparables for digitimes guesses, but it does appear that the numbers are troubling for e-ink:

A drop from the fourth quarter to the first quarter is expected and meaningless- of course sales are higher at Christmas.

BUT- 2 million is also substantially less than 4.8 million- which is the number of ereaders digitimes reported shipping in the first quarter of 2011.

Also- they thought ereader sales would hit 27 million in 2011; now they think actual sales were only 22.82 million.

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