Survey Questions Stamina of BlackBerry Z10’s Strong Start in Canada, U.K.

Published on February 15, 2013
by John Paczkowski

RIM_I_Want_To_BelieveBlackBerry said the recent Canadian and U.K. launches of its new Z10 smartphone have been the best of any of its handset debuts in those regions ever. That’s encouraging news for the company, which is struggling to reverse its declining fortunes after an ugly multiyear swoon in the smartphone market. But it may not be quite the blowout success BlackBerry is spinning it as.

Deutsche Bank’s Brian Modoff recently surveyed 60 BlackBerry carrier stores in the U.K. and Canada and found no sell-outs in the former, and a few in the latter that may have been driven by poor inventory.

“In Canada, many stores reported being sold out of the Z10 and the sales force was well-versed on the device‚Äôs attributes; however, a few representatives told us that they did not receive a large initial inventory,” Modoff said. “In the U.K., the sales force was better-versed on the feature sets relative to the week prior; however, no stores were sold out. … We think the initial signs of this launch do not indicate the strong sales we would like to see.”

If Modoff’s findings are accurate and a good litmus test of the broader market, this is concerning news. BlackBerry launched in Canada and the U.K. first because they’re strong markets with very loyal user bases. If strong early demand isn’t translating into solid, sustainable demand there, where will it?

BlackBerry has not yet provided any sales numbers for the Z10, so Modoff’s claims are anecdotal. But 60 stores is 60 stores. And given the lack of hard data coming out of Waterloo, it’s certainly a sampling decent enough to raise questions about how the Z10 will sell once launch buzz has faded.

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