RIM sales in India increase by 25% ahead of BlackBerry 10 launch
Research In Motion is witnessing an increase in India sales ahead of the launch of its new operating system BlackBerry 10 and more than six months after it announced steep price cuts.
A possible explanation, analysts said, could be that RIM is disgorging its stocks of handsets loaded with the older operating system to stockists and retailers.
During October, sales jumped by around 25%, according to data from one of its national distributors RedingtonBSE -0.24 %.
Amit Mathur, director of sales at RIM in India confirmed the spurt in sales in recent months, but attributed it to the rise of third-generation, high-speed mobile Internet services in India and increasing awareness among consumers about smartphones.
While RIM does not disclose the number of phones sold in India, a recent report by brokerage Nomura said average monthly sales in the July-September quarter was 60,000-70,000 units.
In October, that spiked to about 85,000 units. Technology market researcher Gartner said that BlackBerry’s sales in India have been stagnant for a long time.
“The company has been offloading a large amount of inventory to distributors in anticipation of BlackBerry 10′s launch. The recent uptick in its India sales was primarily due to that,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.
But a RIM spokesman said the sales jump was enabled by special festive schemes, easy financing options as well as expansion in sales reach.
Analysts estimate that about 102 million mobile handsets were sold in India during the first six months of 2012, including about 6 million smartphones.
According to research firm IDC, BlackBerry has a 4.8% share of the global smartphone market, compared to 11.5% last year.
In the US, BlackBerry has less than a 5% marketshare.
“Globally, the BlackBerry 10 launch is not expected to lead to any new marketshare gains,” Gartner’s Gupta said. “Users of Android now need a reason to jump to the new operating system.”