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U.S. BlackBerry Z10 sales said to have ‘started poorly’ with ‘returns now exceeding sales’ [updated]

Updated Apr 11th, 2013 4:39PM EDT
BlackBerry Z10 U.S. Sales

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While we’ve heard encouraging reports on BlackBerry Z10 sales from other countries, here in the United States the picture looks decidedly gloomier. With one major wireless carrier providing next to no marketing push, sales of BlackBerry’s (BBRY) flagship phone in the U.S. have apparently gotten off to a very slow start and are showing few signs of picking up anytime soon. Per The Wall Street Journal, two analysts on Thursday added to reports of slow early U.S. sales and painted a very dire picture of BlackBerry’s future prospects in the American smartphone market.

ITG analyst Joseph Fersedi, for one, claimed that the “U.S. launch of the Z10 started poorly and weakened significantly as the days passed,” and described overall sales as “marginally ahead of anemic.” Detwiler Fenton analyst Jeff Johnston, meanwhile, said that things were so bad for BlackBerry in the U.S. that “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.”

BlackBerry reported selling one million BlackBerry Z10s in its most recent earnings report, which means that the company has seen better-than-expected sales of the device so far. But from everything we’ve heard, the company will have a tough time breaking through in the United States during the current product cycle.

UPDATE: StreetInsider reports that BlackBerry has issued a statement denying reports of excessively high return rates. The vendor says Z10 returns to date have been in line with other premium smartphones, and have even been better than expected in some regions.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.