Amazon is keeping a tight lid on Kindle Fire sales so far, but that's not stopping analysts from coming up with estimates. As Forbes reports, Jordan Rohan of financial firm Stifel Nicolas reckons Amazon sold six million Kindle Fire tablets last quarter. That's up from his previous forecast of five million units.
For reference, Apple sold just over 15 million iPads last quarter. That's not a strictly fair comparison, though. While Amazon started taking pre-orders for the Kindle Fire in late September, shipments of that device only began on November 15.
According to Rohan, the Kindle Fire's popularity is a big deal:
“Amazon’s device proliferation strategy has broader implications than most appreciate,” Rohan asserts in a Sunday night research note. “Tablets including iPad and Kindle Fire are rapidly taking share from PCs and notebooks. Kindle Fire has staked out an important market position due to its loyal Amazon customer base and attractive (low) device pricing. We believe the lower hardware price will correlate with high e-book and video content attach rates.”
Rohan expects Amazon to reap financial benefits from the Fire's success, even though the device is heavily subsidized. (iSuppli figures suggest Amazon might even be selling the Kindle Fire at a slight loss.) He believes the tablet will lead to an uptick in Amazon's North American digital media sales, which might have the the side-effect of helping Amazon "avoid costly free shipping subsidies," too.
In its teardown report, iSuppli shared its belief that Amazon uses the Kindle Fire to draw customers to its retail business, even if it has to take a hit on hardware and digital media sales. Either way, booming Kindle Fire sales can only mean good things for the company.