Barnes & Noble has reported its sales results for the holiday season, and it seems like the Nook wasn’t on too many Christmas wish lists last month.
For the nine-week period ending December 29, B&N’s Nook segment had revenues of $311 million, which is a 12.6% decrease from figures over this same period last year. Sales of digital content like apps and e-books increased 13.1%, but sales of Nooks themselves declined year-over-year. Because of the decreased sales, B&N has lowered the revenue expectations of its Nook Media subsidiary down to $3 billion.
Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch didn’t hold back in addressing the decline, saying: “Nook device sales got off to a good start over the Black Friday period, but then fell short of expectations for the balance of holiday. We are examining the root cause of the December shortfall in sales, and will adjust our strategies accordingly going forward.”
Although Barnes & Noble attributes the lower Nook sales to “lower unit volume and average selling prices,” the drop has to be disappointing. The bookselling company released two new entries into its family of Nook products — the Nook HD and the Nook HD+ — just before the holiday rush, and the nine-week period measured is generally the most lucrative time of year for devices like tablets and e-readers.
The Nook’s drop in popularity was, in some part, likely due to the stiffening competition it faces in the small tablet space. Amazon still refuses to share exact figures, but continually claims that its Kindle, Kindle Fire, and Kindle Fire HD tablets and e-readers are the highest-selling products on its marketplace. Google’s Nexus 7 is still holding strong too, and of course, there’s also the newly-released iPad Mini, which by all accounts has been a smashing success thus far. It would appear that Barnes & Noble will have a tough road ahead if it wants to continue playing in the tablet and e-reader game successfully, even if its products are of a relatively high quality.