BlackBerry Z10: Customer Returns Outnumber Sales

Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry launched its new BB10 operating system and the all-touch BlackBerry Z10 smartphone amid much fanfare in January this year, but a recent Wall Street Journal report suggests the device is not faring too well and has not struck a chord with consumers.

In a recent earnings call, BlackBerry revealed that it sold 1 million units of the Z10; however, this figure did not include U.S. sales.

According to the Wall Street Journal, two new reports published by analyst firms reveal that the sales of the BlackBerry Z10 are quite sluggish, making up less than 2 percent of all sales at carriers Verizon and AT&T in the U.S.

If that wasn't bad enough, to add to BlackBerry's woes is the news that customer returns of the BB Z10 outnumber its 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," wrote Jeff Johnston, an analyst with Detwiler, in a report by the WSJ.

The dismal sales performance and figures of the BlackBerry Z10 were seconded by Joe Fersedi, analyst with ITG. The BB Z10 sales, said Fersedi, were at par with the "anemic" sales of the older smartphones from the company.

"ITG analyst analyst Joe Fersedi writes that the Z10 launch 'started poorly and weakened significantly as the days passed' and that Z10 sales are 'in line-to marginally ahead of anemic sales' of older BlackBerry models and the Lumia 822," according to the WSJ report.

However, there is a silver lining for BlackBerry, as Johnston is of the opinion that the BlackBerry Q10 would perform better than its all-touch sibling, as fans would gravitate to the QWERTY keyboard.

BlackBerry, too, is optimistic and believes that consumers would adopt its software keyboard in the long run. Richard Piasentin, VP and MD for U.S. recently noted that the company "will be able to convert die-hard keyboard users to the same efficiency but in the on-screen side." He opined that the company would "see a significant portion of those folks make the migration to a full screen experience."

Considering that BlackBerry's Z10 was pitched to take down the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4, the latest news does not augur well for the Canadian company. BlackBerry being able to revive its sagging fortunes and bring about a turnaround with the Z10 seems a distant dream at this juncture.

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