BlackBerry’s US launch ‘off to sluggish start’

Few customers rushing to buy, early reports suggest

BlackBerry Z10


US sales of new BlackBerry Z10 handsets are said to have got off to a slow start, underlining analysts’ predictions that the troubled Canadian manufacturer will sell millions fewer in America than predicted. Though AT&T and Best Buy are the only retailers so far to be actively selling the handset, debuting it four days ago, the sales period now embraces the first weekend – a time when handset sales are usually more marked.

One analyst, Daniel Ernst of Hudson Square Research, visited stores on Friday and wrote, “We visited and called stores to survey early demand for the BlackBerry Z10.”

“But we found no lines, no signage announcing the launch and clerks told us they had very few pre-orders.”

Perhaps significantly, BlackBerry itself has also been quiet regarding its first-weekend US sales.

The company’s silence stands in stark contrast to when the Z10 was launched in Britain and when it crowed that first-week sales were nearly triple those encountered in previous launches.

The handset’s debut in Canada, BlackBerry’s home turf, was given similar fanfare with the manufacturer boasting it had enjoyed its best-ever launch.

Back in the USA, where the launch was delayed to allow extensive carrier tests, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile won’t start selling the Z10 until next week.

But even before last Friday’s US debut, other analysts were suggesting BlackBerry was being too bullish about projected sales.

Investment research firm, Detwiler Fenton and Co and which conducted a pre order survey, reported that even then customer demand for the Z10 was “light and well below expectations.”

Though some estimates had indicated sales of 25 million in 2014, it concluded the actual sales were more likely to be nearer half that figure – in the 13 million range.

About Dave Evans

Dave Evans was a long established commentator on both the IT and cellular industries. His last focus was on share price trends within the sector. He passed away in September [2014].
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