BlackBerry versus iPhone in SA: which is most popular?

It’s no secret that BlackBerry phones enjoy a greater market share than Apple’s iPhone in South Africa.

Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx, previously said that Apple’s position in the market may have been negatively impacted by signing an exclusive distribution agreement with Vodacom. This seems to have been somewhat remedied with the iPhone 4, as the device is now available from MTN as well.

At a recent press event held in Johannesburg, Goldstuck also pointed out that a shortage of iPhones in South Africa is a factor. He said that operators claim that they sell every single iPhone they bring in.

However, the “brand momentum” indicator in survey findings recently published by World Wide Worx suggests there’s more at play than the scarcity of the iPhone.

BlackBerry the most desired brand… relatively speaking

According to the most recent statistics, six times as many people want a BlackBerry than currently own a BlackBerry.

BlackBerry currently enjoys a market share of around 4%, but 24% of the sampled South Africans want a BlackBerry.

Goldstuck said that there are two features that are making BlackBerry so popular locally.

Firstly there is the appeal of Blackberry Messenger to the youth market. “There is barely a kid in a private school today who doesn’t aspire to have a BlackBerry,” Goldstuck said.

BlackBerry also offers the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS): For around R60 per month a user enjoys unlimited Internet (excluding streaming media).

The next closest competitor in terms of brand momentum is the iPhone, which currently has a market share under 1% while around 3% of the survey respondents want one.

The most desired phone brand overall seems to be Nokia with 48% of the respondents saying they want to use a Nokia device in future. This is down from Nokia’s current market share of 51%.

BlackBerry comes in second to Nokia with it’s 24% and Samsung third with 12% of South African cell phone users saying they want a Samsung for their next handset.

While Samsung ranked highly among users that claim it would be their next phone, its 12% desirability rating is significantly lower than its current market share of 28%.

This may not necessarily translate directly into sales losses, but it does suggest that Samsung is currently one of the least attractive brands in the country.

Samsung isn’t alone in this, with both LG and Motorola ranking lower in terms of brand momentum.

LG and Motorola both have significantly lower market share than Samsung and have shown a decrease in market share over the last year, prompting Goldstuck to refer to them as “one of the disaster stories of the local mobile market.”

Both Motorola and LG are attempting to rejuvenate their mobile brands, but things do not bode well for the pair in South Africa if perceptions in the market about the two remain unchanged.

Which cellular phone brand do you desire for your next upgrade? << Discuss on the MyBroadband forum.

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BlackBerry versus iPhone in SA: which is most popular?