The Wall Street and the global share markets may have a different story to tell, but Nokia and BlackBerry still rule the cellphone market. If the Mobility 2012 survey by researchers World Wide Worx is anything to go by, Nokia holds half the cellphone market share in South Africa among 16-year-olds and older customers living in cities and towns. Also, BlackBerry grew its share to 18 percent from 4 percent the previous year.
Globally, Nokia held an estimated 37 percent of the smartphone market share last year, and in February, research firm Gartner estimated its overall market share was 23 percent. However, the future of any company or industry depends to a great extent on emerging and developing markets. As per the IMF, seven of the top 10 fastest-growing economies over the next five years will be from Africa. Africa is the fastest-growing cellular region, expected to reach 735 million subscribers by the end of the year. Nokia already has its hands on the pulse of this emerging market. Its Symbian operating system is being used for 70 percent of internet page views in Africa.
Nokia and BlackBerry still out there
As for BlackBerry, although feature-conscious consumers have jumped over to the iPhone and Android devices, cost-conscious consumers in emerging markets still value the fixed-cost, unlimited data bundles and the BlackBerry Messenger service that is offered by BlackBerry.
However, from Wall Street’s view, the current picture is not so pleasing for Nokia and BlackBerry. As per earnings released last week, Samsung and Apple are doing exceptionally well, with Samsung even recording a second-quarter profit growth of 48 percent in a year.
The two smartphone giants sold half of these top-end phones in the first quarter, but managed to grab 90 percent of the profit. In the second quarter, Samsung sold 50 million phones to Apple's 26 million, said research firm IDC - or 32 percent and 16 percent of the smartphone market, respectively. On the other hand, Nokia and Research In Motion (RIM) have both experienced market share crash in the more developed markets of North America and Europe.
Despite this not-so-comforting situation, Nokia and RIM seem to be hopeful and in a position to play the brand equity card and capture a major chunk of the market share in Africa. It is still to be seen whether this is possible, but the economic growth in the next decade is projected to come mostly from emerging markets and this is in favour of both Nokia and BlackBerry.
As far as the Indian market is concerned, both Nokia and BlackBerry enjoy a very good position among the various segments of cellphone users. Apart from its smartphones, Nokia has been introducing quite a few low budget phones in India with continued success. BlackBerry, too, has a very strong presence here and has been launching various models to woo customers. BlackBerry Curve 8520 was and continues to be quite a rage among Indian cellphone users who are smitten with its BBM service.
Nokia also has the Windows Phone 8 card up its sleeves. If the new OS from Microsoft is able to spell success on Nokia phones, the North American and European markets will see a totally rejuvenated Nokia, ready to rewrite the figures for these developed markets.