BlackBerry's Z10 sales off to cautiously optimistic start, say analysts

BlackBerry's Z10 sales off to cautiously optimistic start, say analysts

Summary: Wall Street analysts seem to be betting that sales of the Z10 will be strong enough to support an upgrade cycle for the installed base.


BlackBerry (the company formerly known as Research in Motion) is reportedly seeing solid demand for its Z10 smartphone and analysts appear to be cautiously optimistic about sales.

Whether cautiously optimistic saves the company remains to be seen. Generally speaking, Wall Street analysts seem to be betting that sales of the Z10 will be strong enough to support an upgrade cycle for the installed base.

The themes so far boil down like this:

  • Z10 (review) is in the discussion with Samsung's Galaxy SIII and Apple's iPhone 5 for now. 
  • There are sell-outs in the U.K. 
  • Reps are a bit mixed on the device and how it stacks up with the competition. 
  • The research notes about Z10 sales are based on traction in the U.K. primarily.

More: BlackBerry 10 and the Z10: 10 things I like and 5 things I don't | BlackBerry Q10: Hands on with the elusive keyboard-equipped handset |  BlackBerry: It's all in the name | BlackBerry 10 launch event scorecard | BlackBerry 10 launches: Will you bet on the platform for three years? | BlackBerry Z10: 48 hours with BB10's touch-screen handset

Last week, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek started the optimism parade on Z10 sales. In a research note, he said:

Our initial checks indicate that sales in the UK are off to a strong start. Some stores had lineups out front with widespread sell outs of the White Z10 and limited stock of the Black Z10. Also, our checks indicate that pre-orders in the UAE and Canada have had a solid start. While this is not the crux of our call, these initial data points could provide some relief as many thought that the Z10 was DOA.

Misek also noted that the Z10 was out of stock at Carphone Warehouse in the U.K. and carriers were seeing strong demand. Misek followed up his first note on Monday with his checks on 85 stores. He added:

Over the weekend and continuing into today it seems that most stores are selling a couple a day with about 1-3 left in stock. Ongoing replenishment shipments (every day or every other day) are broadly expected to maintain those stocking levels. After an initial surge in demand for the white model, it now appears that the black model is selling better.


The bet is that BlackBerry's staggered rollout will ultimately gain traction.

Not all analysts are upbeat about BlackBerry's sales, but do note that the launch wasn't a train wreck. Brian Modoff, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, said:

We conducted a survey of 30 carrier stores in the UK to gauge the progress of Blackberry’s Z10 sales over the weekend. The early signs indicate that the carriers did not promote the device and more importantly, it appears that sales reps were not completely educated on the merits of the Z10. Every store we called had the Z10 in stock, save one. While we think Blackberry has time to correct this given their staggered launch, the initial signs of this launch do not indicate the strong sales we would like to see.

Modoff's biggest beef is that reps were mixed on whether the Z10 stacked up well with Android and iOS devices. He said that Z10 was often mentioned in the same sentence as a Windows Phone.

And there's the rub. The new BlackBerry devices are a huge improvement and can keep the base. The BlackBerry 10 devices, however, may not land new customers.

GMP Securities analyst Deepak Kaushal said:

We think the Z10 does well to address key functionality valued by loyal BlackBerry subscribers and should drive a solid upgrade cycle. However we see little at this point that will attract subscribers back from competing smartphones.

Topics: Mobility, BlackBerry, Smartphones, Bring Your Own Device

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  • analysts hate being wrong

    People are getting tired of the icon grids that are Apple & Android, they were great, even revolutionary back in they're heyday, time to innovate again & Blackberry & to some degree Windows have done it. Now its going to be hard to break the trends but with enough well targetd marketing I think the market shares are about to be shaken up considerably & who woulda thought it would be Blackberry to do it?
    • Yes, people get tired...NOT!!

      That's why Windows XP still is being used by 39% running Windows. And how old it that OS?
      Arm A. Geddon
      • It's because of the apps, silly

        Corporations have applications that don't work with anything higher than XP, so it will continue to be used unit, that is replaced.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • yes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it

        Better the bugs you know than the bugs you don't!

        Once you get a certain baseline functionality and reliability further "improvements" are often counter-productive.

        Different is not better, better is better. As I said, once a certain baseline is met, users start saying "show me" instead of just blindly buying the next big thing because its claimed to be "better".
  • Security

    With the ACLU complaining about the lack of security in Android phones, I think this should be a major reason for switching from Apple and Android phones, considering smartphones will be used more and more for banking, making online purchases and electronic wallet transactions in place of debit cards.
    Face it, if Apple and Google could get the FIPS certification, they would have done it by now.
    Either they can't or they don't really care about the security of their customers' private information.
    Susan Antony
    • Love that copy and paste.

      Is Susan Antony you're real name? Are you even alive? Microsoft has used dead people before.
      Arm A. Geddon
      • Let me correct that.

        Is Susan Antony your real name?
        Arm A. Geddon
      • No they didn't

        you have to read the story.

        The letters from beyond had apparently been sent to the deceased for signing, and the bereaved relatives had crossed out the name and signed instead

        The letters themselves were part of a campaign run by Americans for Technology Leadership, an offshoot of the Association for Competitive Technology. ATL ran what purported to be a telephone poll on the Microsoft case, and then sent anyone expressing support for Microsoft letters for signing and stamped envelopes addressed to the relevant attorney general, member of Congress, and President Bush.

        So Microsoft never used dead people before. You should be more careful in your attacks.
        NoMore MicrosoftEver
  • Maybe not Dead

    I just searched the name and there are numerous Susan Antonys showing up who are quite alive. Seems to be a tactic to only hijack and ignore the topic.

    Typed on my Playbook.
  • These are the same analysts

    ...who have been saying for more than a year that RIM was toast, and couldn't survive without a selloff, right?
    You should do a piece on the track records of these so-called experts.
  • Probably Helps That They're Not Selling In The US

    Concentrating on establishing a foothold in genuinely free markets, at least to start with, is probably more fruitful than trying to bang your head against the complacent oligopoly that is the US mobile market.