Thursday, June 7, 2012

BlackBerry still 'cool' to SA youth

BlackBerry was voted the “Coolest Brand Overall”,
“Coolest High-tech Gadget” and “Coolest Cellphone”
in the Sunday Times Generation Next Survey.

BlackBerry has been voted as the “Coolest Brand Overall” in SA for the second year running in the Sunday Times Generation Next 2012 Brand Survey Awards. Announced at an event last week, BlackBerry also took top honours in the “Coolest Cellphone” and “Coolest High-Tech Gadget” categories.

The Generation Next Survey included 5 500 urban and peri-urban young South Africans, aged between eight and 22, and was conducted by HDI Youth Marketeers during February and March.

“The study illustrates young consumers' brand preferences on what they think is 'cool', irrespective of financial constraints, and offers key insight into trends likely to affect brand profit, whether in present or future consumption,” says HDI Youth Marketeers.

Marketing director for SA at Research In Motion (RIM), Lanie Visser, says: “These awards reflect how the BlackBerry smartphone has become an indispensable social tool and lifestyle device for active, connected young South Africans, and we would like to thank our young BlackBerry customers for their continued loyalty."

Cool factor

According to RIM, BlackBerry's local popularity is largely due to the affordability of its BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS). “Popular apps such as BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) – which is included in the BIS fee, have also helped to cement BlackBerry's popularity with young people,” says RIM, adding that globally there are over 56 million BBM users. RIM says BBM penetration in SA is among the highest in the world, with 98% of South African BlackBerry customers using BBM.

Rounding out the top five in the “Coolest Brand Overall” category were BMW, Coca-Cola, Nike and Apple. FNB was voted the “Coolest Bank” (followed by Absa and Standard Bank), and Facebook dominated the “Coolest social networking site and Web site” category, with 28% of the vote, followed by Mxit (16.6%), Google+ (9.8%), Whatsapp (8.2%) and Twitter (6.8%). When it comes to computing, Apple took the top spot, followed by Samsung, Sony, HP and LG.

In the “Coolest Cellphone” category, BlackBerry took 36.7% of the vote, followed by Nokia (22.4%), Apple's iPhone (20.3%) and Samsung (8.9%). While BlackBerry was also the “Coolest High-tech Gadget”, with 12.5% of the vote, while runners up were laptops (12.1%), PlayStation 3 (11.7%), the iPad (11%) and the iPod (8.6%).

Addressing demand

In October last year, World Wide Worx (WWW) and Fuseware released a study of the South African social media landscape. The report showed BlackBerry's BBM service was the fastest growing social network for the second half of 2011 in SA.

At the time, WWW MD Arthur Goldstuck said: “The rate of BBM growth is a factor of Blackberry growth – for much of the last quarter, BlackBerry has been taking 70% of the smartphone market in SA, and that has been driven to a large extent by the demand for BBM, along with the low cost of unlimited Internet access on the device.”

Goldstuck says this has meant a growth rate for BBM of about 500% through 2011 and into early 2012. “After that, the momentum will slow down, and it will become a question of how BlackBerry addresses the demand for a more app-friendly phone.”

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