[Most recently updated on March 6, 2013, to include interviews from Indian newspaper The Hindu and Spanish newspaper Expansion, located at the bottom of this article]
Two weeks ago, Bloomberg reported that a Carphone Warehouse store in the UK sold out of the BlackBerry Z10 in 20 minutes. In Canada, Z10 sales at Rogers broke previous BlackBerry records, with one store in downtown Toronto selling out by 11am on the first day. Similarly, the Z10 also attracted record sales at Bell. Sales were strong not only on the first day, but stores in major cities were consistently sold out in the first week.
Demand for Z10 Outstripping Supply in Middle East
It appears demand for BlackBerry 10 is even stronger in the Middle East. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the Z10 was launched on February 11th, and newspapers have reported that demand has outstripped supply.
The Z10 launched in Qatar on the same day. The website of Qtel, one of the country’s main smartphone retailers, showed that the Z10 was sold out on Friday, while there are 5 units left today (screenshot in gallery below).
Axiom Telecom in Saudia Arabia Received 4,250 Pre-Orders in 48 Hours
The Z10 launched in Saudi Arabia yesterday (Feb 16). Axiom Telecom, unlike other carriers, actually gave a concrete number for Z10 pre-orders, stating that it received 4,250 pre-orders in 48 hours. Axiom is only one of six retailers selling the Z10 in the Kingdom, so the total pre-order number is likely between 15,000 to 25,000 units.
At Mobily (one of the 5 five other retailers) the white Z10 is showing as sold-out on its website (screenshot below). Meanwhile, after only one day of sales, Extra’s website indicates that some stores in major cities such at Jeddah and Riyadh are sold out of the Z10 (screenshots below).
Middle East Accounts for Significant and Increasing Proportion of BlackBerry Sales
These numbers are significant, since Saudi Arabia and the UAE are estimated to be BlackBerry’s 3rd and 4th largest markets, representing 7% and 4% of BlackBerry’s 79 million subscribers, respectively (according to Byron Capital Markets). Meanwhile, the UK and Canada are estimated to represent 11% and 4% of BlackBerry subscribers, respectively.
Together, these four countries represent 26% of BlackBerry subscribers. In France (4% of total subscribers) the Z10 has been well-reviewed by customers. If that country is added to the total, then Z10 sales already appear to be strong among 30% of BlackBerry’s 79 million subscribers. We will find out actual Z10 sales numbers when BlackBerry reports fiscal Q4 earnings on March 28th. It appears that, so far, sales could be on track to beat consensus estimates on Wall Street.
Screenshots of retailers in the Middle East being sold out of the Z10 are in the picture gallery below.
Update 1 (Feb. 24, 2013) – BlackBerry Ramps Up Z10 Production
In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine today (Feb 24) Thorsten Heins stated that for the Z10, “we have ramped up our production”. He also stated that “The fact is that we have been surprised by the positive response.” Regarding the proportion of Z10 buyers who are previous Android and iPhone owners, he said:
“I will not reveal at the moment. But I can say this much: significant for us and unexpectedly high proportion of BlackBerry 10 devices will be purchased by new customers who previously had iPhones or Android smartphones.”
We were the first tech blog in the world to declare the Z10 a smash hit. Personally, I have just ordered my third Z10 today. We will find out concrete sales numbers on March 28th.
Update 2 (March 6, 2013) – BlackBerry Raises India Sales Forecast by 40%
In an interview with Indian newspaper The Hindu yesterday, BlackBerry’s Managing Director for India stated that the company has raised its sales forecast for India by 40% because of initial consumer response to the Z10. In addition, he said that in order markets, about 45% of the people who bought a Z10 were switching from a competing platform.
Update 3 (March 6, 2013) – Thorsten Heins Surprised by Number of Z10 Buyers Coming From Other Platforms
Thorsten Heins said in an interview with Spanish newspaper Expansion today that the Z10 has drawn more interest than expected from users of rival smartphones.
“We are receiving a very positive response to BlackBerry 10 from our customers, but it’s also been attractive for customers coming from other platforms. We are a little surprised by that.” – Thorsten Heins
Be sure to check back on this page, as we will be updating Z10 sales figures as they come in.
Do you live in one of the five countries mentioned in this article? If so, please let us know in the comments below how you feel sales are going.