Blackberry Z10 Exceeds Analyst Expectations

By Ian Paterson, Director of Insights on March 19, 2013

The Blackberry Z10 launch is being watched closely by mobile enthusiasts and investors alike. Blackberry's comeback phone, the Z10, is its chance to pick up lost market share from Apple, Google and Samsung, by offering similar features and functions as the current touchscreen smart phones. For investors, the Z10 launch signals a comeback for Blackberry, with significant chatter emanating from analyst firms such as Bernstein.

The timing for the phone’s release is important. First launched in the UK and Canada on January 31 and February 5 respectively, we are able to examine the sales pattern for the Z10 in advance of the US launch. Pre-sales opened for the AT&T version of the Z10 on March 12, with the official launch date pegged at March 22nd. All three markets will have barely enough sales for the earnings call on March 28.

Below, we examine the CA and UK sales performance of the Z10, and reveal key sales stats such as total units sold, gross merchandize sales (GMV) and average sales price (ASP).

Note: All prices normalized to USD based on that day's exchange rate.

First, a few notes on our data set. We are analyzing eBay's transactions from launch to March 7, with filtering applied to ensure an accurate match.

During the search, we’re looking for blackberry Z10 sales only. By searching first with keywords, we can get 80% of the way to the result set that I need, but by adding additional criteria, we can be exact in the information returned. Selecting only eBay.ca means we restrict my search to only sales transacting on the Canadian eBay site. Selecting the category of "Cell Phones & Smartphones," we’re excluding any accessories that might already be available (such as screen protectors or cases advertised as compatible with the blackberry Z10). We can further refine it by adding a low-pass filter (also known as a price ceiling) of $1400. It's possible that we might exclude one or two outliers that sold for higher, but a normalized dataset is more important for this analysis than an exhaustive one. Lastly, we want to only review new items, rather than used or refurbished items, which is less of a consequence for this search (as the product is brand new).

There's many more options that we could select, such as filtering on the specific brand (in this case, RIM/Blackberry) or analyzing only a specific carrier's sales. In this case, we’re casting a wide net, so can leave the rest of the options unchecked.

Comparing the release in Canada to the UK, it's apparent that a few units slipped out of the supply chain early in Canada, as there's a smattering of sales before the official release date of February 5th. Otherwise, the releases follow similar patterns, with the average sales price (ASP) dropping down to an average of $668 in Canada and $606 in the UK for the week of March-13 (prices normalized to USD).

Thus far, the ASP is holding steady above the predicted $550 ASP put forth by Bernstein's Pierre Ferragu, and in the case of the Canadian market, has leveled off. With the flood of phones arriving in the market from yesterday's US launch, the expectation is that ASP will go down slightly, although the lack of a comparable product makes it difficult to judge for certain. Most in the blogosphere are comparing the Z10 against Apple's upcoming iPhone 5S and Samsung's Galaxy S4, neither of which have been released yet. Indeed, Blackberry is the first among a powerhouse of industry rivals, with the HTC One arriving March/April depending on region.

Lastly, sales volumes are encouraging. From launch until March 10, Canadian gross merchandise volume (GMV) totalled $644,538 with 773 units sold.

In the UK, GMV totalled $1,672,266 with 2,110 units sold.

 

By comparison, the Apple's iPhone 5 sales totalled $2,624,312 and 3,104 units sold, or 0.06% of the 5 million units sold in its opening weekend.

Note: There is no branded direct to consumer sales by Blackberry or Apple on either eBay.ca or eBay.co.uk

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