Blackberry Z10 sold out in India, Really?


Now, I do not mean to say this in any disrespect to Blackberry (earlier Research in Motion) but it is a bit shocking to me. The news itself was given by none other than Thorsten Heins (CEO, BB). This means that it is not fake news by any margin. Blackberry’s newest iteration indeed sold itself out of the shelves in just two days. In fact, Blackberry is thrilled by having such a response from India.

According to Heins – “We shipped into the channel product that we thought would have been good for at least five days and I got an emergency call from our manager in India, saying that they were sold out in two days.”

heins comment

Now, the data in front of us suggests two possible scenarios. One, the expectations of Blackberry was extremely low. Second, India still loves Blackberry.

If it would have been a discussion of any other country the decision would not have been difficult to make. In India though, both the cases are equally possible.

Let me talk the second one first. India is actually one of the few countries where Blackberry market share loss came last. Companies’ attachment to Blackberry and the aura of having a business phone attracted a lot of customers to Blackberry before Android actually became the go to Smartphone.

One of the possible reasons for this might be that iPhone was never very popular in India. It has yet to gain enough traction as in US and while the latest sales reports are positive it has slim chance to gain the same popularity as it commands in its home country. Blackberry lost a lot of market share to iPhone in US whereas it was thriving in India.

In India, looks matter. Brand image exists. For example, while some smartphones from Micromax are better than their counterparts from big brands, they still do not find the same market love. The selling point of Micromax is value for money phones.

Thus, in a lot of ways, India is divided into two factions, one going after brands and other towards saving money. Blackberry still holds some sway in the first category. Besides, people love BBM and anyone whose circle still consists in BBM would be reluctant to switch to an app like Whatsapp.

Now coming to my first point, it might be possible that Blackberry itself is skeptical about its phone and might have dispatched such a small supply that it got sold away in a jiffy. For example we saw Micromax A116 getting sold out almost immediately. While this is no small feat the number of handsets launched were nowhere close to what a company like Samsung might launch its phones with.

A lot is riding on Blackberry Z10 for Blackberry.

Let’s hope that it is the second and not the first reason for Blackberry Z10 to be sold out.

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