Nokia and BlackBerry are alive and well – and thriving – in South Africa, despite both brands facing worldwide decline in market share.
Nokia remains far and away the most popular cellphone brand among South Africans aged 16 and over, living in cities and towns, according to The Mobile Consumer in SA 2012 report, released this week as part of the recently unveiled Mobility 2012 research project.
The study, conducted by World Wide Worx with the backing of First National Bank, shows that Nokia maintained its market share over the past 18 months. In mid-2012, it held precisely 50% of this market; at the end of 2010, the figure was 51%. Nokia is expected to remain the number one cellphone brand in South Africa through to the end of 2013, but with a slightly diminished market share.
BlackBerry has flourished over this period, with its market share rising from 4% to 18%. It has drawn level with Samsung, which has fallen from 28% to 18% in the last 18 months.
“As in other developing markets, the demise of BlackBerry in this country remains a myth,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx. “BlackBerry’s continued strength lies in its appeal to the younger market, with the Curve models maintaining a ‘cool’ image. In the 16-25 age group, the brand has 28% market share.”
A further 16% of cellphone users say they intend to buy a BlackBerry next. Actual behaviour tends to fall short of intentions, but this still suggests strong brand momentum. Despite the wealthy top end of the market abandoning BlackBerry for the iPhone and the new Samsung Galaxy S3, this does not translate into significant market share for Apple or Samsung, as BlackBerry remains dominant in the smartphone segment.
Industry data compiled by World Wide Worx shows that, of a total of around 10-million smartphones sold in South Africa, about 4,8-million are BlackBerry devices. Nokia is a close second, with around 4-million smartphones sold. These are mostly devices using Nokia’s Symbian operating system, while its new Lumia phones using Microsoft’s Windows Mobile have not yet made a significant impact.
Smartphones running Google’s Android operating system – mostly from Samsung and HTC – amount to about 800 000 devices, while the iPhone has moved fewer than 400 000 units in South Africa.