Wave7’s report is based on a survey performed US carrier salespeople. According to PCMag’s Sascha Segan, Google’s had to use “spiffs,” or internal promotions for increased sales commissions and kickbacks, to increase sales of the Google Pixel 6 at Verizon. This is a common practice among smartphone manufacturers to incentivize salespeople to sell more of one brand or model over another (as they stand to personally gain), but Google’s spiffs are reportedly higher than those offered by other smartphone companies.
According to a fresh analysis from Wave7, the Pixel 6 series isn’t selling well at carrier stores. According to PCMag (the information does not appear to have been made public), Google has used heavy “spiff” advertising to entice Verizon salespeople to sell the phone, with one Wave7 representative blaming the phone’s reputation for bugs and performance concerns as a limiting factor.
All this is although the Pixel 6 series is reportedly setting all-time quarterly sales records at Google, with analyst firm Counterpoint later reporting that Google’s sales are up 56% year-over-year as of Q4 2021. The market may be consolidating after LG’s exit, but recent reports from the firm alternately place Google as the #3 brand in North America for premium ($400+) smartphones as of 2021, behind Apple and Samsung (a tiny victory, considering how much of the market each control), and either #4 or #6 overall for Q4 2021 in North America and the US, respectively.
Verizon is seemingly the only carrier that has had any interest in the Pixel lineup, according to the report, and at least one sales rep told Wave7 that they sold Pixels to customers looking for the Galaxy S22 when those phones were sold out — presenting the Pixel 6 as an alternative to another popular device, rather than something to be marketed and sold in itself (ouch).
The Pixel 6’s reputation of bugs and update problems has impacted its reputation among smartphone enthusiasts — a group more likely to upgrade phones frequently and purchase directly from the manufacturer or outright, who are unlikely to be mentioned in a seemingly carrier-centric report like this — but that impression may be bleeding over into the mainstream, according to the report. One rep in Wave7’s survey claims the phone is only being purchased by “diehard” Pixel fans, with customers apparently aware of the problems.
Google hasn’t shared any precise sales metrics for the Pixel 6 series yet, but the company did run into issues keeping the Pixel 6 series in stock at release, with strong initial demand. In October, another report expressed that Google hoped to double its smartphone sales in 2021, nearly doubling its initial order for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro compared to the total number of units it produced in all of 2020 (from 3.7 million to 7 million).
If the Pixel 6’s issues end up bleeding over to the upcoming Pixel 6a, that reputation could extend to the often well-received Pixel a-series as well. Given many of the issues could be tied to Google’s in-house Tensor chipset, and given the Pixel 6a will share that hardware, the company could be in for some trouble later this year when it comes out.