RIM’s been trumpeting some new findings from research firm Gfk today, claiming that the BlackBerry is the UK’s best selling smartphone. But if everything is hunky dory, why is RIM keeping the results so close to its chest? Let’s take a look.
“The latest results from data firm GfK show that BlackBerry was the #1 selling smartphone in the British market for the second year running,” boasted a press release from Research In Motion today.
“It continues to dominate the market, grabbing 26.3% of December sales and averaging 27.7% through 2011.”
Those are strong figures, but I’d be far more willing to believe them in context – context RIM was unwilling to provide, when I asked the company for a breakdown of the figures, or the report itself. Gfk also refused to when The Register asked.
Let’s break this down using other available figures. If Gfk comes to conclusions not so far removed from Kantar WorldPanel ComTech’s back in November, Android will probably make up about fifty percent of all smartphones sold: that’ll be divvied up between Samsung, HTC and a few smaller manufacturers including Sony Ericsson and LG.
Much of the rest of the pie will be split between RIM and Apple, with Nokia’s Symbian and Windows Phones from various manufactures making up the minority. Clearly, Gfk says RIM’s slice is bigger than Apple’s.
To that I say, well, it really ought to be. Apple sells just three smartphones, the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS – and that number may soon be reduced to two. RIM has released nine phones in the UK in the last year and a half, and several older ones, including the Bold 9000, Bold 9700, Pearl 3G, Curve 8520 and Curve 8900, can still be bought as well.
More importantly though, these are available across all price points, from the highest (Bold 9900) to the very lowest: you can pick up a Curve 8520 for around £9 on contract now. Of course it should sell more phones than Apple. And yet, if it is, it’s only doing so by a small margin.
Let’s take a look at the findings for Europe. ComScore’s report last week, based on findings from October 2011, paint a very different picture of overall usage. Across the EU, RIM holds a nine percent share of the smartphone market. You could argue that this simply means the populations of many countries hold on to their phones for longer, but lo: even by this metric Apple claims 21 percent.
Things are even bleaker in America, which is so much more significant than its market size. According to Nielsen, RIM’s US smartphone market share of new smartphones purchased withered from 7.7 percent to 4.5 percent between October and December last year, while Apple’s, in the wake of its October iPhone 4S launch, shot up from 25.1 percent to 44.5 percent.
That’s in stark contrast to British shoppers, but RIM knows it needs to stop the downward turn from happening, and it is happening. Gartner’s November 2011 survey of global smartphone market share pegged RIM at 11 percent, down from 15.4 the year before.
Played out across every country RIM does business in, that’s a precipitous decline, especially when RIM’s new platform aimed at stemming the flow isn’t due out until the end of the year. RIM knows this: hence the new CEO. Just don’t take its large UK market share as a sign that all is well in Waterloo.
(Image via Spooky6)