Reports suggesting that BlackBerry could have exaggerated levels of demand for its latest smartphone are unfounded, a statement from one of the UK’s largest handset retailers claims.
Earlier this week, The Telegraph and Mobile News contacted Phones 4U branches to verify BlackBerry CEO Thorstein Heins’ statement that unexpectedly high demand for the Z10 meant the white edition sold out at UK retailers within days, while the black model was in very short supply.
Instead of corroborating Heins’ claims, however, staff at stores appeared to pour cold water on them, revealing that both Z10 colour options were in plentiful supply. That led to suggestions that Heins may have talked up demand in a bid to garner column inches.
Seemingly in response to the reports, Phones 4U has issued a press release stating that in fact the Z10 has enjoyed an “exceptional response” in its stores and was indeed out of stock for a limited period.
According to the retail giant, over 55 per cent of its 680 stores sold out of the devices during the first weekend of availability but stocks were replenished soon after, perhaps explaining the comments to the contrary from Phones 4U staffers on the ground.
Scott Hooton, Chief Commercial Officer at Phones 4U, comments: “As Phones 4U is currently the only place people can get their hands on the BlackBerry Z10 in white, it has been a huge success and continues to sell extremely well.
“A large number of our stores DID sell out of the white model on launch weekend, but because we knew demand was so high and we didn’t want anyone to miss out on getting one, we replenished stock within hours.”
So what to make of this? Well, given that the reports seemed to be based on a pretty limited sample of Phones 4U outlets, we’ve probably got to give the retailer and BlackBerry the benefit of the doubt.
However, while initial demand for the phone appears to be strong among BlackBerry’s hardcore fans, the real test will come in the weeks ahead when we’ll really see whether the Z10 is able to win back mass-market consumers who have long since defected to Android and the iPhone.