The BlackBerry Z10 Experience: High Sales, High Returns


BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY ) is denying reports that Z10 returns are exceeding sales. The smartphone maker responded by saying that the report 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," the company stated.

Detwiler Fenton and ITG Investment Research beg to differ . The two firms caused a stir this week when Detwiler announced that Z10 returns were actually higher than the number of devices that were currently being purchased. In ITG's note, researchers stated that Z10 sales had been "significantly weakened" after a sluggish start.

At the same time, a new poll showed that BlackBerry devices are the least desirable among a group of more than 250 consumers surveyed between March 14 and March 26. In the poll, consumers were asked to list the smartphones that they never plan to use.

Nearly 20 percent said that "nothing" would get them to use an Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iPhone. More than 31 percent said they would never use an Android handset. A whopping 71 percent said they would not touch a BlackBerry phone.

Based on the findings, it appears that consumers were asked to "check all that apply" (or did so anyway). Either way, it is not a positive sign for the Canadian tech giant.

Nonetheless, it is important to remember that the Internet is more than happy to make a mountain out of a molehill. This is evident anytime an over-hyped product fails at retail.

Whether or not BlackBerry has "failed" is not yet clear. The Z10 is in its infancy, and BlackBerry is still at the beginning of its attempt at a comeback. Android and iOS had several years to promote their brands and build their fan bases before BlackBerry 10 was released.

If nothing else, BlackBerry has already sold one million Z10 units. An additional million Z10s were sold to an unnamed BlackBerry partner (these sales should be added to the next earnings release).

Ovum analyst Jan Dawson recently said that before jumping to conclusions about BlackBerry's success (good or bad), investors should "wait for the next quarter's results, which will be a much better indicator of the long-term success or failure of the platform."

However, while the return estimate may be written off as being one man's opinion, it could be difficult for some to ignore the survey results. It may have included a small number of participants, but the results are still another black mark on the BlackBerry brand.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

(c) 2013 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , BBRY


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