Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) or (“BlackBerry”) recently rolled out the Z10 in the UK and Canada. Analysts have been conducting channel checks on Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s Z10 sales, and there has been an interesting divergence of opinion regarding the actual sales. A research report from Pacific Crest concluded that sales of Z10 are weak while Jefferies analysts have concluded the exact opposite. Investors in Blackberry should hope that Jefferies is correct according based on new data from Raymond James, which shows Blackberry loosing steam ahead of the new system.
Blackberry Losing Steam in Emerging Markets Ahead of BB10, Nokia Progress Remains Limited:
Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) sales are in double-digit decline in emerging markets, which up until a few quarters ago were still in rapid growth due to the success of BBM, according to Raymond James analysts. They are unsure whether this decline is due to permanent share gains by low-end Android devices or to customers holding off purchases until BB10 devices arrive could determine Blackberry’s turnaround success. Nokia gained back some share in Western Europe with its Lumia product line, but North American and APAC trends remain disconcerting.
According to the analysts, the iPhone 5 “clearly” worked in Canada, with Apple capturing 44% market share of all handsets, its highest share ever. Samsung continued to grow share y/y, but sequentially its share dropped to 32% in a market that grew 3% y/y. 1Q13 will be interesting with BB10 launches, but into this launch, Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s share fell again to 6%, down from a high of 22% just two years ago.
Emerging Markets represented roughly 64% of global Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) sales and 30% of global iPhone sales. Emerging market smartphone volumes are increasingly driven by China, which is increasingly dominated by Chinese-based vendors. The analysts note that Blackberry sales are in rapid decline in emerging markets broadly in front of the BB10 launch. It remains an open question as to what degree this is being driven by low-end Android competition vs. delayed purchasing in front of the launch, but on a positive note they “suspect it is mostly low-end Android competition.” However, the analysts also note that Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) appears to be declining quite rapidly in emerging markets, which were near triple digit growth for the company just four quarters ago. Samsung grew 119% y/y in emerging markets, while Nokia and HTC declined precipitously.
4Q12 saw Android grow its share y/y, but decline sequentially on the strength of Apple’s iPhone 5 launch. iOS continues to take share both sequentially and y/y in the U.S. while BlackBerry share was down to 2%, and Windows Phone only managed a slight increase sequentially to 2%.
China is the biggest remaining market, but Blackberry is not a big player there. The analysts think that 2012 will be viewed as the year when China went from a smartphone market dominated by premium Western brands to a mainstream market dominated by Chinese brands. 68% of smartphones sold in China were from Chinese branded vendors vs. only 36% one year ago. Samsung and Apple remain the only non-Chinese vendors with any meaningful share at 16% and 9%, respectively.