ChangeWave Research's new survey looks at the marketshare of the RIM vs Apple. New RIM products such as the BlackBerry Storm have provided a jump in consumer planned buying that suggests RIM is gaining steam.
A total of 12.2% of respondents plan on buying a smartphone over the next 90 days, 0.3% more than previously, surveyed by ChangeWave.
While RIM (41%) is still the consumer market share leader, it has fallen 1-pt since the previous survey in September to its lowest percentage of the last 12 months.
At the same time, Apple (23%; up 6-pts) has witnessed explosive growth - up 6-pts just since September. Importantly, its overall market share has more than doubled in the past six months - a direct result of the late-June release of the 3G iPhone.
Apple and RIM, together, now control two-thirds of the smartphone market, as smaller/weaker players such as Palm (9%) have proven unable to compete.
Next 90 Days - Winners and Losers.
The picture going forward points to changes in the smartphone market. RIM (39%; up 9-pts) shows real momentum due to its slew of new product launches - e.g., the Storm, Bold, Pearl Flip - and appears capable of giving Apple a real run for its money in the first quarter of 2009.
Moreover, after the huge wave of enthusiasm generated by the 3G iPhone launch, Apple consumer planned buying (30%; down 4-pts) appears to have settled down somewhat.
So approaching the first quarter, the ball has shifted back into BlackBerry's court in the form of a big uptick in consumer interest which they can potentially capitalize on. But is the new RIM lineup of consumer products strong enough to take full advantage of their increased demand?
BlackBerry Storm vs. iPhone Survey Reactions
The current survey took a close-up look at the reaction of 61 owners of the new BlackBerry Storm, and compared the results to a similar survey in July 2007 of new owners of the original iPhone.
The overall satisfaction rating given by new owners of the Blackberry Storm can, at best, be characterized as lukewarm. One in three Storm owners (33%) said they were Very Satisfied with their new model, well below the 52% Very Satisfied rating given by all current owners of BlackBerry smartphones.
The Storm satisfaction rating is similar to that of mid-tier smartphone manufacturers like Nokia (32%), Motorola (32%), HTC (31%) and Samsung (30%). While far from bad, it's mediocre - which means it's a potential concern regarding RIM's head-to-head battle with Apple.
For comparative purposes, here's how the BlackBerry Storm's favorability ratings stack up against those of the original iPhone (taken in a survey of new iPhone owners in July 2007, less than a month after its initial release).
As the chart shows, the original iPhone's Very Satisfied rating (77%) was more than double that of the new BlackBerry Storm (33%). Importantly, the Storm's Unsatisfied rating (14%) is three times higher than that of the original iPhone (5%).
BlackBerry Storm: Key Likes and Dislikes
Respondents were asked what they liked best and disliked most about the Storm. The results show that RIM made the right choice in producing a touch screen phone, being that it's a highly popular option in the smartphone market. One-in-two (49%) say Touch Screen Interface is what they like best about their BlackBerry Storm. Other key likes include Screen Size (46%) and Screen Resolution (43%).
At the same time, the touch screen interface represents one of the BlackBerry Storm model's biggest Achilles heel. In terms of dislikes, Lack of a QWERTY Keyboard (21%), Touch Screen Interface (20%) and Difficult to Use (20%) were top issues, along with Short Battery Life (21%).
The smartphone market is now dominated by two companies - Apple and Research In Motion. According to our survey results, the Apple iPhone trails the RIM BlackBerry in terms of current market share - but the iPhone has experienced strong growth since its inception and explosive growth since the release of the 3G model in July 2008.
Going forward, RIM is showing a surge in momentum due to its slew of new product launches - and appears capable of giving Apple a strong challenge in 2009. But the real test in a cutthroat market is how satisfied consumers actually are with their new models.
In this survey, we found the BlackBerry Storm's satisfaction rating to be middle-of-the-road - lagging behind the average rating for other RIM BlackBerry models. It's not that the BlackBerry Storm is a bad phone. It's just that the initial launch has glitches which have resulted in a mediocre satisfaction rating.
Competitive pressures may have caused the Storm to be launched before it was quite ready for primetime. But if RIM can rapidly fix its initial glitches and bugs, the survey shows that this new offering - along with RIM's other recently released models - will provide accelerated momentum for RIM in 2009.
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