BlackBerry Z10 Off to a Strong Start in U.K.
We are still in the very early days of Research In Motion’s attempted rebirth, so it’s impossible to make even a reasonably accurate call on its prospects. But some early sales data suggests that the company, which is rebranding itself BlackBerry after its best-known smartphone, may be seeing strong demand for the Z10, the first of two BlackBerry 10 handsets it will roll out in the coming months.
According to channel checks conducted by Jefferies & Co., preorders in the United Arab Emirates and Canada have so far been “solid.” More encouraging, though, are early reports from the U.K., where Z10 sales are evidently off to a good start. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek reports lines outside a number of U.K. retailers selling the device, and says that sell-outs of the white Z10 have been widespread. The black Z10 is easier to come by, but Misek says that with that device, too, stocks are limited.
“We believe Carphone Warehouse is seeing widespread sell-outs, while O2, Vodafone, Orange and EE are seeing robust demand,” Misek explained. “We estimate sell-in to be at least several hundred thousand units.”
If that estimate is correct, this is encouraging news indeed for the company. While the U.K. is among the biggest BlackBerry markets in the world — if not the biggest — it’s far, far smaller than the U.S., a crucial market for BlackBerry.
If Z10 sees demand similar to that of the U.K. when it debuts in the U.S. in March, BlackBerry may have a chance to regain some of the traction it has spent the past five years losing. “To put [these early Z10 numbers] in perspective, the iPhone had first weekend sales of 5 million plus in the U.S.,” Misek said. “The U.S. is five times larger so continued strong sales could bode very well for Blackberry.”
Reach for comment on early U.K. demand for the Z10, BlackBerry spokeswoman Amy Jones said the company was encouraged by early demand.
“We have supplied initial shipments to our partners and carriers in Canada, the UK and the UAE (which is due to launch February 10th),” Jones said. “We are very pleased that our partners are able to start selling the BlackBerry Z10 so quickly following our global launch event. We are extremely encouraged that the initial demand for the BlackBerry Z10 has been high.”