The Gathering Storm – The People Are Buying BlackBerry

Good Choice Sir...
Good Choice Sir…

Well, here’s a funny thing.

Just before John Chen took on the job of BlackBerry CEO the ‘burn them’ mob were sensing that the end of their nefarious mission was nigh.

The company looked down and out, flattened and without the energy to strike back. The naysayers were having a field day, predicting the death and breakup of the company at any moment. Retailers were actively encouraging customers away from BlackBerry devices, refusing to stock them and, despite all the evidence to the contrary, were busily telling customers that BlackBerry no longer made phones or that it was pointless to buy one as the company was about to go down.

In the teeth of this onslaught, people who actually wanted to buy a BlackBerry had to, incredibly, fight tooth and nail in some cases to get their hands on one EVEN WHEN THE STORE HAD THEM IN STOCK and millions of sales walked out of the door by others who, understandably, couldn’t be bothered with it all.

And, long term business partners happily dumped on BlackBerry for appalling short term grabs, actively encouraging existing BlackBerry customers to trade in their useful devices and replace them with something that might not actually work properly but got them a quick buck.

And, yet…

John Chen appears. He is calmness personified. And, softly, quietly, the confidence is returning.

And people are coming #BackToBlack.

As reported in today’s Financial Post, over the last 6 months iQmetrix, a Vancouver-based firm that provides sales software to independent wireless retailers across North America has been surveying independent wireless retailers.

And the results are astonishing.

In Toronto the survey reported that BlackBerry devices accounted for 23% of all sales in the 6 months December to May.

Now, you may dismiss this, for whatever reason, and pick on the fact that in Vancouver that figure was just 9%.

Take your pick of whichever number you like, it’s not the market share of a ‘dead company’ who ‘never sell anything’ on whom the bell is tolling. And these sales are happening in the teeth of a ridiculous amount of industry opposition and, more even markedly, with NO MARKETING SUPPORT WHATSOEVER.

Or try this one.

In the North American region as a whole (US/Canada), BlackBerry sales accounted for 6% of the total. Nothing to write home about there, huh? Even though that’s 6% more than many would LIKE you to believe it really is.

But the HTC One M8, the phone that was going to blast all before it, the device that came with it’s own fanfare and parade was launched in this period. The ‘Best Android EVER!’

HTC’s share?

3.9%. A full 2.1% BEHIND BlackBerry.

In fact, when you look at you look at the totals by manufacturer, the ONLY thing that stands out is just how well BlackBerry are holding up:

Percentage of all phone sales in North America over the past six months:

Samsung (39%), Apple (28%), BlackBerry (6%), LG (5.4%), HTC (3.9%), Motorola (3.2%), Huawei (2.9%), Sony (1.9%).

Now, imagine what these figures would look like with BlackBerry back in the game? With advertising, promotion and retail availability?

It looks like the storm is gathering.

It looks like the people are beginning to speak.

It looks like they want a BlackBerry.


Bigglybobblyboo is a legend almost nowhere at all. He is a founder member of UTB and spends his spare time taking out his anger at the world with a fishfork and a spatula. He is also a Cribbage Master, having won 1 fight online as the other guy refused to turn up out of fear for his life.

  • Awesome Biggs! Great news. Great finds. I have a feeling we will be spending the next 2 years going over numbers that get increasingly big. It’s gonna be fun!

  • Reverend Grim

    I see Nokia have done well too! Oh, hang on I seem to have been hallucinating, my bad!

    • Gnomesane

      I have yet to see a Windows Phone in Toronto, and I’m in the downtown core a lot. Not saying they’re not out there, but they’re far more invisible than BlackBerry by a long shot.

  • Gnomesane

    First Indoensia, now Toronto… I’m sure the Elmer FUD brigades will sniff their noses and say it doesn’t matter, BlackBerry is still dead…

    Living in Toronto, I can confirm that BlackBerry still has a very healthy presence in the city – BlackBerry 10 and legacy BlackBerry devices (they’re well built enough to last for years). I guess we Canucks didn’t get the memo that BlackBerry is dead?

    Thanks for the link, good to know.

  • newcollector

    When I read the figures, I did a double take. I couldn’t believe that BlackBerry had 6% of North American sales. I just wish the US alone had that kind of figure. But I do believe this is a nice indicator that Black is coming back. Apple and Samsung, do you hear those footsteps rapidly gaining on you? It’s the best OS on the planet rising like a phoenix from the ashes.

  • Trev

    Good find, Biggs!

    Everybody seems to just blankly state BlackBerry’s don’t sell or nobody uses them. I guess they should have been saying that during the HTC One M8’s release as well, or anytime someone tries to buy a windows phone.

    • Gnomesane

      Windows phone doesn’t exist in Toronto, for all intents and purposes. I’m sure they’re out there, but I have yet to see a single one personally.

      • crazycanuck

        Out of all the people I know, 1 has a windows phone. I can’t recall seeing any others either.

  • crazycanuck

    I live just outside Toronto and get into the city often. When at a venue with lots of people (hockey games, baseball games concerts etc) I often turn on my blue tooth and do a scan for devices. I am always amazed at how many BlackBerry devices show up. Try it sometime where ever you are.

    • hey crazycanuck- that is a cool idea- I’m gonna try that.


      • crazycanuck

        Do it. Let us know what the results are.

    • Omnitech

      You forgot to mention the qualifier: Blackberry devices whose owners haven’t a clue about security. :D

      One of the first things I do when I get a new bluetooth-supporting device is turn off the ‘discoverable’ aspect. ;)

  • Chopachain

    And we still get these idiots saying BB should change to android. Duh!

    • Gnomesane

      BlackBerry might as well fold its tent if that’s their only option. It’s one thing to offer Android compatibility through a runtime, quite another to surrender to another (older) OS that lacks the capabilites of QNX going forward with embedded systems beyond mobile.

      It’s beyond stupid to make that kind of suggestion.

    • web99

      Yup, it becomes irritating when people on a particular fan site brings up the point of droping BB10 in favor of Android again and again. Especially when you have only one OEM in a crowded field of manufacturers making money and controlling the marketshare. BB10 is a much better, more secure operating system by far.

  • xBURK

    I live in downtown Toronto. From what I’ve noticed lately, this report is correct.
    Just the other day, I was standing in line at a Tim Hortons getting ready to use my Timmy’s App. As I placed my Z30 on the pay terminal, I heard a women say, “Oh, I forgot about that app”. I turned around and witnessed an 80+ year old women retrieving a Q5 from her purse. I thought later that would have been a great photo for an ad. Insert tag line here….. locco_smiley_8

  • Chaplain_Clancy

    But I thought that the US market was all that mattered? It’s US press or global press with a US centric view of the world who give us the narrative that BlackBerry has no Marketshare. Apologies to all my US friends for my frank assessment.

    • Wow, Chap. That’s a good point, and no doubt valid.

      But is BB’s loss of share common in developed markets in general? E.g. Europe, Australia, etc.?

    • razrrob

      That’s a fair assessment. In most avenues of life us Americans tend to have a very US-centric view of things, shame cos it’s such a diverse, culturally rich world outside our borders.

  • Bastakiatavich

    I picked up two Z10’s last Friday at my local AT&T store, while prominently displaying my Z30 (bought direct from BlackBerry) on table for sales guy to see. He had a look at the Z30 and said he did not know why they did not carry the device, others have asked him for it as well.
    And I should mention not a single push back or any bad mouthing of BlackBerry by the sales clerk…I was pleasantly surprised.

    • xBURK

      I tend to visit many smart phone outlets due to my two year old’s obsession with touching Q10’s and Q5’s. It’s strange though, my household only includes Z’s?
      Anyway, it’s true, sales reps are getting better with giving BB10 a fair shot. I’ve never expected them to give BB10 special treatment, just not laugh in someone’s face for inquiring about BlackBerry.

    • MePiikan LzBolaz

      How old did you say your mom is? The one that’s super happy to be rocking her new z10… locco_smiley_29