How many Z10s can BlackBerry sell in Canada?

One survey says BB can do 2.6 million.

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According to a recent survey reported in the Globe and Mail, that number is about 2.6 million over the next year. If that number sounds a bit high to you, we’ve done some cursory investigation to see what investment and industry analysts are thinking.

Troy Crandall, an analyst with MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier,  says the figure is overly optimistic. “To get to their number of 2.6 million they’d have to increase their market share significantly.”

BlackBerry currently has a 4.5% share of the smartphone market in Canada, according to IDC.

In a research note, Tim Long, analyst with BMO Capital Markets, asks if the improvements in the Z10 will help sell phones. He answers his own question with “We don’t think so.”

By contrast, Paul Treiber, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, says the estimate is “in the ballpark.” He notes that BlackBerry has sold 2-3 million phones every year over the last several years. “BB10 is off to a strong start in Canada—the sustainability of sell-through depends on corporate upgrades, interest beyond early adopters, and how quickly RIM launches additional models (Q10, etc.). “

Kris Thompson, tech analyst with National Bank Financial, says 2.6 million would be a “stretch” even with combined sales of the Z10 and Q10.

There remains a loyal core of BlackBerry users and the company is counting on them upgrading. Ian Ainsworth, SVP Investments at Mackenzie Financial, says that’s why he thinks 2.6 million is “possible.” But he adds a caveat: “How many of the sales will be to people switching from other brands? Otherwise, the BlackBerry refresh will fizzle. Early sales in the U.K. and Canada have been not that convincing.”

Ainsworth is referencing a research note from Pacific Crest Securities that looks at U.K. data, which has historically been a good indicator of performance in Canada. In the note, analyst James Faucette concludes that while the launch has been better than previous high-profile launches in the last several years, early data suggest global sales for the year will be around 6 million at the high end.

How Canada might snag almost half of that is difficult to imagine.

Krista Napier, analyst at IDC Canada, declined to speculate on BlackBerry sales, but says she doesn’t expect the new phone to help the company win back market share lost to Android and Apple.

Nevertheless, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins recently made a statement that the February 5 launch saw the Z10 do 50% better than any launch day in the company’s history in Canada. It’s perhaps worth noting that he offered no specific numbers, and in the tech world that’s not usually a good sign.

2 comments on “How many Z10s can BlackBerry sell in Canada?

  1. It’ll be interesting to see how this new BlackBerry fares against the iPhone. I’ve had blackberries all my life until I bought my first iPhone 3GS. Ever since then, I’ve strayed away from BB. Hopefully this is the device to bring me back in. Is there an anticipated release date for it in the U.S.?

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  2. It feels like the “testing” delays by carriers in the U.S. is all part and parcel to the vastly inaccurate but widely accepted bad PR toward BlackBerry. I can’t imagine BB competing in that country but in the rest of the world (especially Canada) they should make headway with a product like this. What causes companies like Netflix to snub BlackBerry? Why no Kindle app for Canadians? Mostly, I think BB’s success depends far more on deflecting Apple’s antagonism toward them and marketing past that hoop. I’ve never seen such hatred (fear) as I do from some Apple fanatics toward BB. I don’t think by just making the best smartphone on the market they’ll succeed. The more people who get to try the phone out makes a huge difference. They need to get out there and let people try out the phone.

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