BlackBerry comes out as top smartphone in the UK

BlackBerry Torch
By DJ Reyes on 31 Jan 2011 01:35 pm EST

In what may come as surprising news to some, it seems that RIM have been doing pretty well in the UK. In a study carried out by the GfK Group, they have found that BlackBerry sales surpassed those of the iPhone over the Christmas holiday period.

The GfK figures are based on over-the-counter sales as opposed to vendor shipments, which is what many other research companies base their figures on. The figures say that BlackBerry took a 28.2% share of the market in 2010, then gaining 36% (selling 500,000 units) over the Christmas period, with more BlackBerry handsets being bought in December 2010 in the UK than any other smartphone. Most of the BlackBerry handsets shifted were on pay as you go, one in two for that matter. Pay as you go handsets have always been the popular choice over the Christmas period, so it does not come as much as surprise but the fact that BlackBerry came out tops shows that it is only going from strength to strength here in the UK. Taking a walk down the street you'll find a lot of the younger generation carrying around BlackBerry devices, with the most popular being the Curve 8520. Figures also show that the Torch 9800 is also proving a big seller on contract sales.

This is definitely some refreshing news for BlackBerry lovers and goes to show that RIM are definitely still in the game. With their 2011 road map known we can only see more good things to come from the RIM camp.

Source: Tech Radar

Reader comments

BlackBerry comes out as top smartphone in the UK


This is probably why we in the UK don't really understand all the bad hype about RIM and BlackBerry that comes out of the US.

BB's are popping up everywhere, and there is a lot of the teens that are prefering BlackBerry over iPhone and Android.

Heres what RIM`s uk MD had to say on it, kinda mad figures

Stephen Bates, Managing Director UK, Research In Motion:

"December was a record month for us - with around 11 BlackBerrys sold every minute. The strength of sales in 2010 confirms BlackBerry's leadership position in the UK smartphone market. This is highlighted in particular by our growth in the burgeoning pre-paid market. BlackBerry smartphones are now the number-one prepaid smartphones in the UK and we achieved the position of UK number one smartphone brand in 2010. Our consumers are attracted by applications such as BlackBerry Messenger, which experienced a 500 per cent increase in usage last year with currently 33 million users to date worldwide.

"Looking ahead to 2011, the forthcoming BlackBerry PlayBook exemplifies how we are continually striving to anticipate and meet the needs of our ever-expanding customer base with highly innovative products."

The sooner RIM realise that the UK is a significant market for them the better. Maybe then they will start making sure apps are no longer for the US & Canadian users only. It gets very frustrating when you read about a new app only to find it isn't available in the UK (News Feeds, Amazon beta, Traffic, Podcast etc).

Agreed, the whole podcasts thing really wound me up, hopefully now they will start resecting their customers. Ofcom really shook up the mobile market in the UK, people can now more easily vote with thier feet, which they will do if RIM dont get a grip.
BBM and a keyboard only gets you so far with inferior technology and software - the converstion rate of BB to Andriod is still very high in the UK (as the kids grow up and earn a better wage).

Well I don't think RIM is responsible for where the apps should be available. The developer tell RIM which countries can access it and which country can't. Most of the good apps aren't available in Canada (ie Pandora). So you can't blame RIM for listening to what their developers wish.

Its the same thing here at UBC in Vancouver. iPhones are "mainstream", which makes having a Blackberry cool. Case in point, my parents, and aunts & uncles use iPhones. Also students can get old ones for cheap.

aye,i bought a white 9780 around xmas time on pay as you go.was a no brainer for need to lug a car battery around with you to keep androids or apples with enough power to see you through the wasnt bbm that attracted me to it,it was blackberry the brand,the design of the handset the battery life and the funcionality of the handset.winning package all round.

RIM will always be at a disadvantage in market share figures by Canalys, IDC and the others because RIM report on a different schedule than the other manufacturers. The latest charts don't include RIM's December period which is the biggest month for sales. So it's good to see some data that includes the December period and it's also good to see RIM continue to grow in the PAYGO sector that they started to focus on last year.

It's some of the insane offers over here that help... Example: Virgin Mobile do a 24 month contract at £10 per month with handset (no upfront fee). That's not a plug, I'm not with them, just something I saw.

In the space of a year and a half in my current, public facing, job I have seen a massive increase in BB's held by people.

You even see the 13-15 year olds on the bus in the morning with them!

Agree. The most age group picking up BB's must be teenagers. While travelling by tube and bus here, saw scores with them. I think the affordability of blackberry is the main factor for the success, with BBM helping along the way with their constrained/fixed budgets.

It must be like a domino effect with teenagers and peer pressure.

I enjoy hearing this good news considering blackberry,always!
Its just my wish that more people in Serbia will realize what an excellent device this is,and catch up with you,UK crackheads in this berry "mania"...;););)

At the risk of deflating somewhat the self-congratulatory tone of this all, if a majority of Christmas purchases are Pay-As-You-Go, this does not necessarily mean the device is the phone of choice. It could be that these were bought by others for gifts (and the end-user left with the result, whether they wanted it or not) and / or there was a flurry of remarkable Plans set up for Christmas only (say it isn't so) that encouraged people to buy them as 'disposable' phones.

I'm not saying that BlackBerrys aren't worthy devices and if they are attracting a younger following there, that's great - though one does wish RIM would get actively support some of their 'older' (like 8520) devices with some newer programs (the browser comes to mind) - but it doesn't necessarily follow that a PAYG phone equals a long-term user.

or you could look at it the other way, what woulda happened if the UK hadnt seen its coldest december in over 100 years, and growth hadnt dropped by 0.5% due to this? would sales of been even higher?

also it should be noted that while BB dominates the PAYG smartphone market, its by no means its only market

I think it's more likely that the parents asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas, and the kids told them 'a BlackBerry'. Either that or they picked up the subtle hints that teenagers drop in the run up to Chrimbo, such as 'all my friends have BlackBerrys, I can't go to school without one'.

Anyway, all's fair in the high-street wars and any brand could have done the same clever marketing and pricing to get people into their phones, and I dare say that RIM was not without fierce competition.

With the younger crowd it's almost all berry, and as already noted mainly the 8520, all they want is talk, text, bb, facebook and decent reception battery life.


You can count my young nieces and nephews in that demographic. For teens, carrying a BB is the new fad...and the absolute main reason is BlackBerry messenger and for the parents, the affordability over say.. an iPhone.

Basically, nowadays; if you're in secondary/high school and you don't have a BB your pretty much left out. Even the Bold 9700 can be bought pretty cheaply..

haha you say 9700 is available cheap, yet and amazon both sell the 9700 for a tenner more than the 9780!!! very odd

I was referring to contract.

You can pick up a free Bold 9780 for as little as £25pm with 500text, 500mb data and 100mins(Vodafone)
But like I said, most of these young'uns only care for BB Messenger.... its the new yahoo/MSN messenger for them.

I think it's also because Brits get tired of over-hyped stuff where as Americans just lap up hype forever. Look at "The Office" brilliant short run over there. Here they just keep beating it over and over and over again.

After you get over the hype you realise the main purpose of a smart phone is communication and in this RIM/BB shines.

Cheap prices help too ;-D

i still stick to BB (got a 8900) as my primary phone simply because of -

1. battery life lasts better than anything else currently out in the market!

2. overall reliability as a phone and messaging device...nothing beats it!

Am running a hybrid OS5.0 and it works like a simply headaches, no hassles...i love my BB :-)

yes i have tried other smartphones as my secondary phone but for work, for regular reliability...nothing beats it!

A BB does make sense for the younger user for reasons that others have pointed out, plus particularly in the UK, younger people will have a very large network of friends all living close by, even in the smaller towns. Rather than sit and home and communicate behind their computers, they would rather get out the house and meet up somewhere and that requires a bit of fast communication.

Very smart way to expand RIMs consumer market, I would think that building brand loyalty with a first-time smartphone user in their teens would be much easier than building it with a late 20/30/40something. Plus, you will get more sales through the life of the younger generation...

I see same for my kids in High school. The majority are on Berrys.

As a parent I like it because there is never any question as to if they got your message and have read it. Text is too easy for them to dodge.

Don't let all the bad hype fool you. Blackberry is selling quite well in the United States. Rim only problem is that it suffers from a terrible marketing dept. Rim is selling more phones than ever but you wouldnt know by listening to the idiots in the press. Rim just needs to get a handle on it's marketing.

BB's are probably popular due to the fact that you can pick them up so cheap without having to tie yourself into a contract, compared to an iPhone. The cheapest iPhone that I've seen has been priced at £220 and that's in bad condition from cex. I gave my old curve 8520 to my brother when I got an upgrade, and he loves it. He's now a crackberry addict, which is all good apart from when I get 4 broadcast messages a day from him on BBM with stupid "if you don't forward this you will a) die b) have no sex life c) you will be poor for the rest of your life" crap. Lol.

And it shows how popular they are when he's 15 years old and has about 120 contacts on his BBM.