It’s a lot less shocking now when someone proclaims that former Research in Motion Ltd. customers are edging away from the failing brand than it was, say, five years ago. Still, the fact that 75 per cent of popular gadget enthusiast site Drippler’s audience are planning to drop their Blackberry’s like they’re on fire is worth noting.
Matan Talmi, founder of Drippler.com, said the data was culled from the one million users of the site. Users of Drippler get custom news, rumours and update feeds after picking which devices they have and which ones they want. Based on that data, Talmi concluded that 75 per cent of the Blackberry-owning enthusiasts who visit his site plan to pick up a Windows Phone, Android or iPhone handset when they have to replace their phone. “Some are thinking about it, interested in getting rumours about a few models in some cases,” he said. “(They’re) thinking about getting the iPhone 5 or the next Galaxy S 3.”
Info-Tech Rearch Group Inc. analyst, Mark Tauschek said these results are unsurprising and reflect the same results as multiple studies in the past year. “We’re seeing signs of it everywhere,” he said. “I’ve been talking about it for around a year.” Tauschek pins the uncertainty on a multitude of problems. “We’re going to be waiting for BB OS 10, or QNX 10, or whatever they’re calling it these days…until the latter half of the year,” he said. “And, of course, all the talk and speculation going on right now about others either buying them outright or licensing their intellectually property doesn’t help.”
While RIM’s stock prices may have seen an uptick from all of the buyout rumours, Taushek said it hasn’t helped customer faith at all.
According to a Neilson report this week, during the Christmas rush of the past three months, despite multiple new Blackberry handsets entering the market, RIM took home just six per cent market share in the U.S. That’s even lower than its overall market share in the States, which Neilson reports as being 14.9 per cent.
Talmi said that Drippler’s statistics are also important because enthusiasts aren’t just buying gadgets, they’re telling their friends what to buy, too. “These are the guys that tell their friends what phone to get next.”
On top of this, Blackberry’s one hold-out in the past, BBM, is proving not to be a factor at all going forward. Both Talmi and Tauschek said that, with so many free options, like WhatsApp and Kik, and iOS’s iMessage, it’s no longer a bullet point for RIM to hang its hat on. “If you can message instantly, for free, with delivery notifications and conversations with anyone who has an iPhone, that’s really BBM,” Tauschek said.
That said, Drippler’s study, unlike others, does have some hope. While 75 per cent of current users want to switch, there is still the other 25 per cent who want to re-up Blackberry. Talmi puts this stat down to gadget geeks who are unfailingly loyal. “I think the explanation to that is that there are users that are really brand advocates,” he said. “They really love their BlackBerry and are not likely to want to switch.” It may not be the silver lining that RIM is looking for, but it also points out that the exodus may be happening, but it’s not everyone.