Blackberry Z10

Recently, analysts from Deutsche Bank conducted a survey of 30 carrier stores in the UK to gauge the progress of Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s blackberry Z10 sales over the weekend, the results of which were revealed in a research report released today. The bad news for Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)F is that the carriers did not promote the device and more importantly, it did not sound like sales reps were educated on merits of the device. Every store the analysts called had Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s Z10 in stock, save one. This compares unfavorably to the lines and sold-out launches of Samsung and Apple. While the analysts recognize 30 stores is not a statistically significant sample, they do think it provides a decent indicator of early sales. Interestingly, Jefferies’ recent channel checks indicated the exact opposite. More details on the report from Deutsche Bank below:

Methodology:

Of the 30 stores contacted, half were O2 and the other was Everything Everywhere (T-Mobile and Orange). From this they made an attempt to quantify demand and gained some meaningful qualitative inputs as well. They called stores and asked questions typical of a prospective smartphone buyer. First they asked sales representatives their first choice for smartphones and recorded their unaided response. They then asked what they thought about the new BB10 platform, followed by a comparison to the iPhone 5 or SIII and finally, what was their best selling smartphone. This gave insight into device popularity. Where possible, they tried to gauge unit sales.

Highlights from the survey:

  • The iPhone 5 and SIII were the most recommended phones
  • Out of the 30 stores, only two recommended (unassisted) the Z10 as their first choice
  • A few sales representatives said that they had not yet been trained on the BB10 operating system
  • Only one store was sold out of the Z10, while another had sold many; others had sold “a few.”
  • Overall, reviews were mixed, at best, when asked for a comparison of Z10 versus the iPhone 5 or SIII
  • Best selling models are currently iPhone 5 and SIII

From these conclusions things appear fairly clear to the analysts. First, the two carriers are not fully engaged in promoting the new BB10 platform, yet. Outside of it not being mentioned in the same sentence as the iPhone and the SIII when asked for a recommendation, sales representatives were not well-versed on BB10’s unique feature sets. Many said that the UI was unique, but did nothing to expound on what this meant, other than saying that we should come into the shop to test it out.

In contrast, many of the sales representatives were very familiar with both Android and iOS, discussing their virtues at length. What this familiarity indicates to us is the extensive lead which both these platforms have. While it is still very early for BB10, the analysts thought a gradual roll-out would have helped them focus their resources on these initial markets. This did not appear to be the case. 

Second, sales representatives were mixed on whether or not BB10 compared well with iPhone and SIII. While some said that the device compares well, others gave one reason or another as to why it did not. Unfortunately they do not think this type of response is what would bring an outsider to sign a two-year contract on Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s Z10. Out of the 30 responses they received, Samsung’s SIII was the most recommended, followed by iPhone and only then did they hear Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s Z10 and it was often in the same sentence as Windows.