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Can BlackBerry PRIV Sales Rise after a Strong Start?

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BlackBerry has tried its best to increase PRIV distribution

In the previous part of this series, we discussed why BlackBerry (BBRY) isn’t considering a strategic decision on its hardware business. One thing that has increased management’s confidence is the decent start of its latest smartphone, the PRIV. BlackBerry launched the PRIV on November 6, 2015, through an exclusive deal with AT&T (T) in the United States.

On the same day, it also launched the smartphone with a number of Canadian carriers, including Bell, Telus (TU), and Rogers (RCI). It also made the PRIV available in the United Kingdom (EWU), on Carphone Warehouse, and on online channels such as Shop BlackBerry and Amazon (AMZN). BlackBerry now estimates that it will be able to make PRIV available in 31 countries by the end of February compared to only 4 as of November’s end.

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BlackBerry’s smartphone unit shipments continue to decline

Even though the PRIV found some success, the fact of the matter is that BlackBerry is unable to stop smartphone shipments from falling. As the chart above shows, BlackBerry unit shipments have fallen from 2.0 million in fiscal 3Q15 to 0.7 million in fiscal 3Q16. The only consolation for BlackBerry was that its smartphones’ average selling price (or ASP) rose sequentially from $240 to $315—mainly driven by the higher-priced PRIV.

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