The BlackBerry Z10 isn't off to a great start after launching worldwide in the past months, according to several analysts speaking to The Wall Street Journal. BlackBerry's saving grace is thought to be the Z10, but that might not be the case according to the unofficial numbers.
Joe Fersedi, an ITG analyst, reported that the Z10 launch was poor to begin with (he's referring to the US specifically), and has continued to weaken significantly since. BlackBerry Z10 sales are “in line to marginally ahead of anemic sales” of older BlackBerry models, as it's holding only a 4 per cent share at Verizon stores and 7 per cent at AT&T (he notes those numbers are falling too).
Jeff Johnston, a Detwiler analyst, painted a much worse picture, saying returns of the BlackBerry Z10 are outnumbering actual sales. "We believe key retail partners have seen a significant increase in Z10 returns to the point where, in several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before,” said Johnston.
It's worth noting that analyst comments are unofficial and should be taken with a pinch of salt, though we think they help portray what's happening in the market.
In late-March BlackBerry reported its Q1 earnings, shipping one million BlackBerry Z10 handsets to customers, mainly in the UK, but only a further 5 million BlackBerry smartphones in the same 90 days around the rest of the world. The figures didn't include the US launch of BlackBerry Z10, as it came later.
The company also noted that the lack of excitement for new devices meant it lost 3 million subscribers in Q1 as its customers ventured elsewhere to get its phone fix. BlackBerry said it has 76 million subscribers, down from 79 million last quarter, and 80 million the quarter before.
"With the launch of BlackBerry 10, we have introduced the newest and what we believe to be the most innovative mobile computing platform in the market today," said Thorsten Heins, CEO of BlackBerry. "Customers love the device and the user experience, and our teams and partners are now focused on getting those devices into the hands of BlackBerry consumer and enterprise customers."
In a statement released shortly after the launch of the BlackBerry Z10 in the UK and Canada, BlackBerry said it saw its best launch day in the company's history. Perhaps the following days were a slightly different story.
Will BlackBerry Q10 launch later this month be a different situation?
Update BlackBerry has issued the following statement: “BlackBerry wishes to respond to media coverage today regarding speculation that there have been abnormally high levels of returns of BlackBerry Z10 devices. This is absolutely false. Our data shows that return rates for BlackBerry Z10 devices both in the US and on a global basis are in line with or better than our expectations and are consistent with return rates for other premium smartphones in the market today.”
Update (2): After refuting the analyst reports, BlackBerry has asked the Securities Exchange Commission and Ontario Securities Commission to give a thorough review of the situation.