Currently we are in a period lacking data, waiting for the Q10 release and the next fiscal quarter results. With many investors wondering which way BlackBerry's (BBRY) share price will move from its present $14, the stock volume is quiet. Assembling unbiased data for Seeking Alpha investors has been the goal of our recent articles. With so much speculation, it is important to have the appropriate data to analyze the investment and trading situation. The information that is indicative of BlackBerry interest and acceptance is web traffic.
For completeness and previous data, the following articles have been written recently:
BlackBerry : Status Update - Ratings and channel checks
BlackBerry : More Hard Work Ahead - Average Selling Price, Sales and Earnings
The release of the Z10 is being rolled out globally country by country. By analyzing the percentage of traffic categorized within the BlackBerry.com network, we can extrapolate interest by country. The data are not normalized by population and are the raw traffic statistics.
Data from Alexa
Data from Alexa
As most people are aware the big markets for BlackBerry are: India, Indonesia, UK, Canada and the United States. These are confirmed by the above listed stats and appear to continue to be dominant markets.
The various release events for the Z10 globally show an increased amount of traffic that is significant. This amount of traffic appears to be more than the current niche BlackBerry users looking to upgrade.
Global Traffic by mobile OS
Another metric that is valuable is the traffic by mobile operating system. StatCounter provides data from 3 million sites totaling more than 15 billion hits per month. The data examined were limited to the countries BlackBerry is targeting. There is a lot of discussion in terms of device sell through and if users are activating their phones. This quantitative data illustrates the acceptance of BlackBerry devices.
Data from StatCounter - Global Traffic BlackBerry OS in Percent:
Data Normalized for Comparison
The United Kingdom showed the largest change in BlackBerry device traffic and as such we have provided more information. With the 1st week of February being the release data of the new Z10 in the UK, I was expecting the stats from February to April to increase significantly. Although there was a slight increase of approximately 1%, this was not the case. At first it appeared that the new BlackBerry Z10 was not as successful. Looking at the data more closely and in particular the December and January periods showed a significant decrease of BlackBerry traffic by 5-6% per month. This decrease stabilized with the Z10 release and is more likely that most customers were waiting for the Z10 release before their next purchase. It also supports the claim from BlackBerry that "55% of Z10 users are from other mobile platforms." Why didn't the BlackBerry OS traffic increase more sharply? We will take a look at that later.
Alexa, an internet demographic company, has provided the following statement and demographics on BlackBerry.
BlackBerry's three-month global Alexa traffic rank is 756. About 38% of visits to the site are bounces (one pageview only). Compared with internet averages, the site's audience tends to be Asian; it also appeals more to less affluent men under the age of 35 who have postgraduate educations and browse from work. While we estimate that 14% of BlackBerry's visitors are in India, where it is ranked #545, it is also popular in Indonesia, where it is ranked #106. Search engines refer roughly 20% of visits to the site.
Alexa - The Web Information Company
The demographics show interest in BlackBerry products are largely from young professional males, which fits into the technical early adopter model of a product lifecycle. The profitability for BlackBerry is promising as the corporate sector is most interested in their products.
What are people searching?
Google being the largest search engine on the Internet can provide us insight into user searches. Using Google Ad Words with the search term Z10 provided the results below, with a large concentration in Canada, the UK, Indonesia, India and Africa. As before the graph illustrates the increased traffic with various Z10 release events around the globe.
It is interesting to note that although Z10 was the search term used, the Q10 search term was listed as a related term by Google. This also shows a significant increase in searches over the Z10 search term.
Google Ad Words - Search results for Z10
Before we showed the increase in BlackBerry mobile OS traffic but questioned why the traffic didn't increase more sharply. The Google Ad Words data may provide us with the answer. Personally, I do not see the attraction of the physical keyboard over the full touch screen, but from the search results there is a significant interest. Prior to the Z10 release we saw a significant waiting period and similarly we are witnessing the same trend. People are waiting for the Q10 to be released and are looking for information on this new device.
What does this mean for investors? Not surprising it appears the next big catalyst will be the Q10 release. It is also possible that the Z10 sales will increase with the Q10, as more people will be comparing both models and making their purchasing decision after. One of the best ways to follow Q10 and Z10 device activations will be from the global BlackBerry mobile OS traffic reports, which may provide sales data prior to any other sources. I will be following the stats and as I see spikes return to the pre-2012 levels that will signify positive activations and a recovery for BlackBerry.