Tipped as the company’s saviour, the BlackBerry Z10 has failed to ignite excitement as expected with latest reports suggesting the handset’s recent US launch has been followed by 50 per cent return rates.
Having fallen slightly under the radar since its late January UK arrival, the BlackBerry Z10, the first device to come pre-installed with the Canadian manufacturer’s BB10 operating system, hit US markets in recent weeks with analysts since describing early sales as “anaemic.”
More worryingly for BlackBerry than reported low sales, however, will be the claimed return rates with some even suggesting that returns are now outstripping sales.
“We believe key retail partners have seen a significant increase in Z10 returns to the point where, in several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before,” Detwiler Fenton analyst Jeff Johnston stated in a recent report.
Suggesting that BlackBerry Z10 sales are “in line-to marginally ahead of anaemic sales” of ailing, pre-BB10 BlackBerry handsets, fellow analyst Joe Fersedi of ITG has stated the handset “started poorly and weakened significantly as the days passed.”
With BlackBerry, formally known as RIM, having revealed in a recent earnings call that more than one million BlackBerry Z10 handsets had been sold prior to the device hitting US shores, the company was keen to dismiss reports of heightened return rates.
“BlackBerry wishes to respond to media coverage today regarding speculation that there have been abnormally high levels of returns of BlackBerry Z10 devices,” an official spokesperson said. “This is absolutely false. Our data shows that return rates for BlackBerry Z10 devices both in the U.S. and on a global basis are in line with or better than our expectations and are consistent with return rates for other premium smartphones in the market today.”
Building on its currently limited BB10 offerings, BlackBerry has confirmed that that the first physical QWERTY keyboard hosting BB10 handset will hit the UK later this month, in the form of the BlackBerry Q10.