So there really aren’t more accurate forecasters?

Note: this is an old draft. I hope the reason why I’m publishing it now becomes more obvious in near future.

It’s interesting that ever since I started this blog, I’ve – from time to time – ran into people who have this unexplainable urge to defend Tomi Ahonen on cases where he is obviously presenting fabrications as facts. I believe it’s some sort of a Stockholm syndrome at works. The one argument that struck me with awe was from the comments section of Tomi’s blog. I had posted there a link to my analysis on Tomi’s forecast accuracy. Someone replied on that saying it’s not about Tomi shooting miles off from the target but the fact that others do worse than Tomi.

(My gosh – is that even possible?)

My replies get deleted, but there was a reply to that argument. Unfortunately it was (unsurprisingly) also deleted by Tomi, but I like to store good arguments when I see them pre-deletion so I stored it as a draft to my blog. Here it is for better storage:

You’re right. We definitely should evaluate Tomi against others to see if anyone does constantly better than Tomi. Let me try. In summer 2007 Tomi predicted that by the end of year 2008 the iPhone would hit 10 million sales but not much above that. This is what he now calls ‘most accurate forecast made at the time’. That 10 million was Apple official target, set by Steve Jobs but it seems to get forgotten in here.

However there were others who felt 10 million was too low and Apple would do much more than that. Just to name few we have Seth Godin and Laura Reis. Latter one said Apple would sell 2 million in 2007 and likely exceed the 10 million target of 2008. Kathryn Huberty from Morgan Stanley went as far as suggesting 20 million iPhones sold by end of 2008. All three exceeded Tomi’s 10 million forecast.

In the given timeframe Apple sold over 17 million iPhones, which puts any of these other forecasters to be more accurate than Tomi. Kathryn Huberty with her 20 million is less than 3 million iPhones off, whereas Tomi is off by over 7 million.

Similarly we could pull in Tomi’s forecast on peak iPhone. Tomi says he was ‘dead on’ with his forecast on when iPhone market share would peak. Or to be exact, Tomi REPORTED in April 2010 that Apple’s market share had peaked among smartphones, and among all handsets, on an annual basis. He explained that Apple could not grow market share into 2011. Now if we take any analyst who hasn’t so far said iPhone has peaked among all handsets…

…they are more accurate than Tomi because Apple market share in all phones has not peaked yet. (ExNokian comment: this is old comment but still true: Apple market share in all phones has been up all the way to year 2015 and might still be slightly up in 2016.) Once again all three persons mentioned before are more accurate than Tomi what comes to forecasting the “peak iPhone” on all handsets.

And as a final point of comparison we have iPad. Tomi said it could not realistically sell more than 3 to 5 million in its first year. And once again we can find tons of others who said it would sell more, including all three from previous forecasts. The lowest of their forecasts was Kathryn Huberty who had iPad first year sales forecast at mere 6 million, just 1 million more than Tomi’s “realistical maximum”.

But the actual reality?

15 million.

ExNokian addition:
Are those numbers valid? I can’t say for sure. The iPad forecast of from Kathryn Huberty I could find but like I’ve said, the old web pages are slowly disappearing from the net so it becomes more and more difficult to tell if those numbers are correct.
However we don’t really need those numbers. We can just trust on Tomi:

I was one of the few who predicted accurately that in its first full year, yes the iPhone would hit 10 million sales but not much above that. There were many experts of the handset industry back then who said the 10 million mark was impossible to achieve, it would be a world record for a new phone brand. And there were some Apple-fanatics who felt 10 million was too low and Apple would do much more than that.

Tomi Ahonen, September 09, 2014 [1]

Reality being 17.2 million, Tomi has himself said there were more accurate forecasters than himself.
I rest my case.

REFERENCES:

[1] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2014/09/enter-the-iflop-what-will-be-seen-as-first-apple-failure-after-steve-jobs-but-the-first-edition-appl.html