Fake math

Every once in a while I stumble upon some bit of insanery that’s being discussed in the bizzarro world where Samsung and Android fandom is fed bogus statistics by companies that are not at all interested in releasing useful information but are just promoting their name.

Case in point:

“Galaxy S5 Reportedly Tops iPhone 5s in Launch Weekend Sales”

Huh. Is that a fact?

Well, no, actually, it’s almost assuredly not a fact. Here’s what the results from iQmetrix, a retail POS and ERP vendor, actually say:

The Galaxy S5 sold better at launch (April 11-13) than the iPhone 5s did on its launch weekend (Sept. 20-22, 2013). The S5 comprised 25% of total phones sold in the U.S., and 18% of total phones sold in Canada, during the period. The iPhone 5s comprised 18% of total phones sold in the U.S. during its launch weekend, and 13% of total phones sold in Canada.

So, ugh, let’s get this straight. Based on their numbers, which come from retail stores where they have a presence — read: does not include Apple Stores — the S5 made up a larger percentage of phones sold on its launch weekend than the iPhone did on its launch weekend.

You can see the obvious flaw in the pretend math here. Percentages are not unit sales. Without knowing the total sales on each day, you don’t have any idea which sold better. And the percentage of a couple days of sales is not a meaningful measure. Even if it was, this percentage doesn’t include Apple Store sales which, you know, might be significant.

Did the Galaxy S5 outsell the iPhone 5s in raw numbers in the U.S. on their respective launch weekends?

Well, we don’t know for sure. But I seriously doubt it.