BlackBerry: ‘Weakening Sales’ for Z10, ‘Strong Initial Demand’ for Q10

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BlackBerry won’t be excited to hear these numbers.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley is lowering his prediction of BlackBerry smartphone sales from 3.3 million to 2.8 million units for the company’s May quarter. That’s a slashing of about 15 percent.

The reason?: Our global surveys indicate mixed BlackBerry sell-through trends, with weakening sales of the Z10 over the past month but strong initial demand for the limited supply Q10,” Walkley wrote in a research note Monday morning.

BlackBerry is in a race to stay relevant among general consumers and business users around the globe. Sales of its devices have flagged particularly in the oh-so-important U.S. and Western European markets over the past few years as Apple, Samsung and other manufacturers have rocketed to the forefront with user-friendly, app-happy smartphones.

The company’s stock had a bit of a resurgence last fall when carriers expressed interest in the Z10 and the Q10 the first phones based on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. But the Z10 opened to mediocre sales in the most important markets, and the Q10 has only just recently launched in Canada and the U.K. It’s U.S. debut is pending. Most insiders believe the best BlackBerry can do is compete for third place with Nokia, Motorola and others and even that will prove to be a challenge.

As the rest of the market has enjoyed success in the first part of 2013, BlackBerry’s stock has slipped about 7 percent over the past three months.

“While we anticipate stronger near-term results for BlackBerry as higher margin BB10 smartphones sell into the channel, we do not believe BlackBerry can achieve sell-through market share levels to return to sustained profit levels,” Walkley added.

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