Microsoft Surface tablet holiday sales are dismal, unrecommended by sales reps

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Did anybody get a Microsoft Surface this Christmas? Does anybody know anyone who got Surface for Christmas? Didn’t think so. As solid of a device it is, it just doesn’t seem to be on many people’s wish list this holiday season.

R.W. Baird analyst William Power recounted recent conversations at retailers like Best Buy and Staples in a note to investors. He noted that when speaking with sales representatives at these stores, Apple’s iPad was the most highly recommended tablet while Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Amazon’s Kindle Fire were recommended as alternative options. The Surface, on the other hand, was not even pushed by sales reps at either chain.

Microsoft’s Surface, which Best Buy just recently started carrying, was not recommended to us by reps without us asking about it specifically. When asked about sales to date, reps noted that the device was new and indicated that early demand has been modest relative to the iPad and Kindle Fire. We would also note that the device was in stock at every store we contacted […] We contacted Staples stores in an effort to further gauge Microsoft Surface sales, though our impression from speaking with reps was tablets are not a major seller at Staples. Tellingly, Staples doesn’t currently carry the iPad. When pressed for details, Staples reps indicated that Surface volumes have been modest to date. Most reps told us that the primary appeal to Surface buyers is the ability to run Microsoft Office. Consistent with our Best Buy checks, the Surface was also in stock at all Staples stores we contacted. Outside of the Surface, the Google Nexus 10 was cited as another strong tablet option.

According to BGR, Twitter user A.X. Ian performed an informal survey by way of analyzing the tweets discussing new tablets around Christmas eve time. The results were very telling: 1,795 tweeted about getting a new iPad, 250 tweeted about Kindle Fires, 100 tweeted about getting Nexus 10 tablets and only 36 tweets mentioned getting a new surface for Christmas.

While, this is definitely not a good sign for Microsoft, it’s definitely not the end either. We have to remember that the Surface is basically Microsoft’s newcomer in the tablet race while the other companies have had significant head start in building ecosystems and a fan base. But if the Surface still sits at a distant last place at this time next year, Microsoft might need to push that panic button.

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6 comments

  1. rosswell

    Funny, you, like so many, say that Apple had a “head start”.

    Just a phrase, I know, but it implies some kind of unfair advantage.

    There was no gun fired to start the race. These companies all had the same time to dream up new products.

    Being late to a party is more like the image I see, and this was a party everyone was fairly invited to. MSFT is chronically late to every party.

  2. Mike

    The reason the earlier alternatives to the iPad took off was they offered a major advantage: significantly lower price. As far as I can tell, the Surface offers a nifty kickstand and keyboard, as well as memory expandability, but at significant price. Is that enough reason to leave the well-developed iPad ecosystem?

    Microsoft might have had a huge advantage had the base Surface been compatible with Windows ops. Instead, to get that, one has to buy the very costly Surface version, which most consumers won’t do–why not get a very nice laptop instead?

    As with the Zune earlier, Microsoft just doesn’t get what it has to do as a follow-up, secondary competitor, and has a hard time comprehending that it is not the leader that people will follow without more. Amazon and Google understood.

  3. AT

    People might be waiting for the Windows 8 Tablet. That way they can run the software they want rather than pay for a stripped down version of something they already have.

    That said, I saw no real interest at the Microsoft Booth at my local mall yesterday. Being Boxing Week Sales in Canada, that’s saying alot. During the Surface RT release day there was alot of buzz but lately, nothing.

    I feel the Surface RT’s price point is too high to entice people to buy. The case is a separate purchase or bought as a more expensive kit. There’s nothing substantial enough for someone to jump ship from their current platforms.