Heavy Rotation sold 340,487 copies on the first day, topping the Oricon charts!
For comparison, Ponytail to Shushu sold 354,403 copies on its first day. This means AKB sold about 10k less this time, but it doesn't mean that it's lousy, because Ponyshu had voting tickets which resulted in more people buying multiple copies. This time, there is no election, but Heavy Rotation managed not to drop drastically in comparison, which means that AKB is really gaining fans.
And supporting the thinking that the number of fans did grow substantially is Heavy Rotation's second day sales:
Still at #1 of course.
But this figure means a lot more than just money.
This is AKB's best figure for 2nd day sales yet.
Also, Ponyshu had sold 49,447 copies on its second day. So even though Heavy Rotation had lost to Ponyshu by 10k on its first day, it sold about 20k more on the second day, meaning Heavy Rotation is already outselling Ponyshu.
Before this result though, many people did expect higher first day sales even with no election. Maybe due to the fact that the shops had actually shipped 650k copies compared to Ponyshu's 500k. The shops are just better prepared this time, I guess. Not to worry for them, at this rate, Heavy Rotation will probably reach 550k copies sold by the end of the week.
The fact that the transition from 1st day to 2nd day was less drastic this time meant that there are more casual fans now. How does this thinking work? If you think about it, most wotas and hardcore fans go through preorder so that they can get the single in their hands as early as possible, while maybe less than half of the casual fans(those overseas especially) use it. By the second day, the people left to buy would be mostly casual fans. Of course this is just very hypothetical thinking on my part but I believe it makes sense.