NOKIA and BlackBerry handsets remain the most popular in South Africa, despite a global decline in their market share.
THABISO MOCHIKO | BDLIVE
Research by World Wide Worx, a technology research provider, released on Tuesday showed that Nokia maintained its 50% market share in South Africa over the past 18 months. It is expected to remain the number-one cellphone brand locally until the end of 2013, but with a slightly diminished market share.
Meanwhile, BlackBerry’s market share rose from 4% to 18% in the same period, drawing level with Samsung, which fell from 28% market share to 18%, said Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx.
"As in other developing markets, the demise of BlackBerry in this country remains a myth," said Mr Goldstuck. "Its 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."
Mr Goldstuck has previously said that Nokia’s success in South Africa is in the mass market where it enjoys "tremendous popularity", and where older handsets are helping it hold onto its market share.
Of a total of about 10-million smartphones sold in South Africa in the past 18 months, about 4.8-million were BlackBerry devices.
Nokia was a close second, with about 4-million smartphones sold — mostly devices using its Symbian operating system. The company’s new Lumia phones, using Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, have not yet had a significant impact, said Mr Goldstuck.
Sales of smartphones running Google’s Android operating system — mostly made by Samsung and HTC — amount to about 800,000 devices, while Apple’s iPhone moved fewer than 400,000 units in South Africa.
According to Mr Goldstuck, the iPhone remained a "toy of the elite" locally, maintaining its 1% market share of 18 months ago.
Survey respondents gave the iPhone the greatest future brand momentum, however, with their purchase intentions suggesting a sixfold increase in market share, to 6%, in the next 18 months.
Meanwhile, research provider Gartner said on Tuesday that worldwide sales of cellphones to end users reached 419-million units in the second quarter of this year, a 2.3% decline from the second quarter of 2011.
Smartphone sales accounted for 36.7% of total cellphone sales, and grew 42.7% in the second quarter of 2012 from the same period a year before.