BlackBerry market still growing strong in Nigeria

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By Michelle Haag on 20 May 2012 01:47 pm EDT
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Anyone that doubts the future of Research In Motion and the BlackBerry brand need look no further than the developing markets outside of North America to see that not only is RIM not dead, it is in fact flourishing in other parts of the world. South Africa, Indonesia, and Mexico are all huge contributors to revenue, with Nigeria soon to be added to the list. Robert Bose, head of RIM for Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, revealed at BlackBerry World that within the next two months a BlackBerry office will open in Lagos, making Nigeria a specific target market.

Nigeria currently has a very small smartphone market at this time with only 5% of phone users owning one. However, BlackBerry is the number one smartphone brand with half of that market already using the RIM made devices. With inexpensive unlimited internet plans and the high popularity of BlackBerry Messenger in this region (97% of BlackBerry users in Nigeria use BBM) combined with inexpensive phones such as the BlackBerry Curve 8520, it's no wonder the brand has gone viral. It's not just a matter of money, however. BlackBerry was voted as the most popular phone among teenagers and there was even a series of Nollywood films released last year called BlackBerry Babes focusing on how your social status can be harmed if you don't own a BlackBerry. All of this, without any direct representation of the brand.

Don't let yourself be fooled by the popularity low-end devices. High-end devices such as the Bold 9900 sell just as well as the more inexpensive Curve line. "A lot of people expect that the only devices we would sell in Nigeria would be the 8520 or the cheapest phones,” says Waldi Wepener, RIM's regional director for East, Central and West Africa. “But we sell as many at the high end. Because Nigeria is not a subsidized market, and operators don't subsidize devices down to zero, the price of the device at the user level is very visible. And that doesn't hold back the market.”

So what does all of this mean for RIM and BlackBerry? There is currently a market of 100 million phone users, with 5 million of those people using smartphones, and half of that number are BlackBerry smartphones. It's only a matter of time until the population begins to migrate en masse to smartphones, which opens up tens of millions of new users for RIM in the next few years. And that's just in Nigeria. Research In Motion already has stores opening across India and the Middle East where BlackBerry sales have been thriving. Of course, winning back the North American market is still important and most would agree that it's crucial to RIM's survival for the long run. But that is a battle that will take a lot of work and won't be won overnight. It's good to know that in the meantime, BlackBerry and Research In Motion aren't going under, they're simply winning over other markets while rebuilding their image back home.

Discuss more in the forums

Source: ITWeb

Michelle Haag Michelle Haag "@_Miche11e_ and C0001B3B5" 1189 (articles) 1683 (forum posts)
59 comments

JackKennedy

Seriously, this article is borderline ironic....if I didn't read this on crackberry I would have taken it as sarcasm.

"Nigeria currently has a very small smartphone market at this time with only 5% of phone users owning one. However, BlackBerry is the number one smartphone brand with half of that market already using the RIM made devices"

What does that even mean? RIM is strong because it has less than 3% market share of the mobile phone market in Nigeria?

The articles on crackberry are getting worse, they are just pulling together trivial facts and making them sound important and the only effect these articles achieve is really making the site less and less credible.

bvinceb

We should just stop reading it. Hey with your analytical mind, have you thought of starting your own Site and leaving these poor souls to wallow in their ignorance?

BB 9800 n Playbook -

sk8er_tor

Why come on CrackBerry if the only thing you have to say is negative towards BlackBerry? I don't get why the CrackBerry team hasn't suspended your account yet. Seriously, everyone's getting tired of your negativity. Clearly you're not a BlackBerry fan or owner so move along.

abucool10

am in nigeria am nigerian,been using blackberry since it became popular down here cos of the bbm>> we have a population of 160million so 5% of that.. well u do the math.. every single person living in the city has a blackberrY. even if u own an iphone u must own a blackberry to fit in or stay connected.. trust me the article is credible.. we are a big market for rim>

buster3535

is RIM enabling 419 scammers? ruh roh shaggy!

Pearl9100

-2

First of all, Mexico is a part of North America. This is simple geography.
Secondly, Rim's success in Nigeria, a poor African country, does not point to any signs of Rim's global success. Nigeria is vastly different from Europe, NA, and India and it is wrong to assume that the Nigerian success of Rim can translate to success for Rim on a global scale.

What a terrible article.

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Geeoff

Alright. First of all. What does being "a poor African country" have to do with anything?

The key point for RIM is not whether the *country* is poor or where it is located. To be a bit crass, the key is the profits that they are able to make.

Three percent of the entire phone market in the seventh most populous nation is pretty good! And the fact that most of these customers are paying subscribers means that RIM is making good money there.

This doesn't necessarily indicate future success in America, but it does demonstrate a viable international company providing a profitable service around the globe.

Make no mistake, RIM's strong position in a large, growing market like Nigeria means more growth and profits for RIM.

Pearl9100

Because growth in poor/developing countries is limited. You have to plan ahead and not just count sales that you have today.

Let me ask you this. If you started a company and made a product, would you rather have it be a success in Nigeria? Or would you rather have it be a success in the US, Canada, Germany, or China?

I rest my case.

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Thunderbuck

Actually, growth RATES in Africa have been trending up for many countries in the past few years, including Nigeria.

In fact, Nigeria is showing some promising suggestions that they might be starting to deal with notorious government corruption and providing a better business environment in general.

Smartphones have a lot of potential in Africa. Internet use leapfrogged landlines, and most users depend on their mobile phones as their primary data device. If BlackBerry is an aspirational brand in that environment then they stand to do well, since many in the growing middle class will have the means to buy in.

kupfernigk

The short answer is "it depends". Sheer size of a company is not as important as profitability per dollar of working capital. A lot of the apparent cost of phones is actually sales and marketing expense. Currently Apple is the only phone company that really makes any money in the US. So how do you define success?
The cost of getting sales in the US market is enormous. I suspect that the cost of getting sales in Indonesia, Nigeria and so on is much less. HP and Microsoft have just demonstrated for us that penetrating the US market seems to be a way of losing money.
So if I had a choice between, say, selling 5 million phones in America and bankrupting the company, and selling 1 million in Nigeria and turning a profit, I would go for Nigeria (which is an emerging market) rather than the US.

When it comes to lessons in economics, I really don't think I need to go to someone so insecure that they have to boast about their car ownership on a mobile phone forum.

dsaynt

I'm a Nigerian and leaving in Nigeria. Trust me 5% is an understatement because I'm pretty sure that the market penetration is much more. I would also like you to rephrase the statement poor. Trust me, Nigerians are not poor..it is just unfortunate that the country is ruled by corrupt leaders. Majority of the BBs in Nigeria are actually the high end ones and Nigerians by nature change their phones every year at the most, some change once there is a new BB. Currently I use a BB9900 and I've got a blackberry playbook 64gb. My friends all have BBs. Trust me,RIM is making a fortune in Nigeria. Sales are what matters in the end ain't it? America that everyone is talking about have people that change their phones every 2 years(when the contract runs out or they are upgraded). Nigerians buy their BBs at full price with no subsidy from carriers. Now tell me isn't RIM making money here?
So I suggest you change your views. The article is on point.
Cheers. Ken

Puz_zled

Thanks Michelle for passing on this article written by South Africa based independent tech consultant Arthur Goldstuck (Arthur Goldstuck is an award-winning writer and analyst, managing director of World Wide Worx, and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. You can follow him on Twitter on @art2gee.). I read it Friday when I came across it in IT Web Magazine online. I know it's credited at the bottom of the article but many (see the above 2 comments) fail to read that far before commenting and say silly things. Thanks again for all your hard work!!
Sent from my patio on my BlackBerry Playbook

Pearl9100

I understand her sources. Still doesn't mean that the article still isn't trash.

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bvinceb

BB 9800 n Playbook - I am so happy that you have taken the time to set us straight about inevitable downfall of RIM and the failure of the BlackBerry. Your insight that RIM should not take anything positive from their none North American sales is indeed enlightening. Thank you. I hope you take this watch dog role seriously. We need to be vigilant. Keep up the good work.

ps4rh

I hate to point it out, but this was Nokia's point of pride for years and they're in worse shape than RIM.

Hedging your bets on emerging markets isn't necessarily a winning strategy.

boldkeyboardholic

yes, I think RIM can't compete succesfully with cheap androids, too.

Snipperdo17

It's not supposed to be a winning strategy. It's supposed to hold them over until they get BlackBerry 10 up and running so they have revenue to stay afloat during the process and so they have money to market BlackBerry 10.

Bla1ze

There is a SLIGHT difference between Nokia's plan and RIM's though.

Nokia basically gave up every other market aside from their Euro and emerging markets. They reduced their once flooded North America presence to nothing other than cheaply made feature phones available on prepaid plans across carriers.

RIM isn't doing that, they're not giving up on those markets instead just biding time until they have something for them and in the meantime, making some money in emerging markets. There is an actual strategy there, where Nokia had none.

spike12

And let's not forget service revenue either...Shear volume is extremely beneficial in that case.

BaconMunch

The difference between Nokia and RIM is that RIM now has a clear transition strategy for the 95% of the market that are not using smartphones in countries like Nigeria.

Get people on BlackBerry 7 in emerging markets which are a strong contender vs plastic low end Android and the non-existent low end iPhone.

Nokia lost approximately 20 million Symbian sales this past quarter over last year quarter (according to Gartner) and will continue to free fall, RIM is still expanding their BB7 business in these countries.

boldkeyboardholic

is it the Nigeria connection?

(fax and mail con's - was "big" in Germany at least ;) )

samuelwhatshisface

What comes to mind when people say that business blackberry users need another device for fun, is that the other device isn't good enough as a phone. Hell, if I want to play serious games on the go, I'll get a vita, but for keeping up to date, in touch and on top of my work, blackberry do those the best. Don't see what's dead about a company that make a product that fits its customers needs, and what I'm seeing of RIM is that they're improving their products.

sjc1963

Will this help the royal family there "transfer" their money much easier? ;-)

dsaynt

sjc1963,
This just shows how ignorant you are. Nigeria is a democratic country and has been since independence and has 3 major tribes with countless others. They have a president with a senate etc. They don't have 'a royal family'. Get your facts right.
As per BB sales there...RIM has the right strategy. Leverage on the emerging markets to make money to develop/make better phones and finally get up to 2nd place in America.

Maxey05

That's the thing about RIM. They are still a BIG COMPANY, they just aren't as strong as they used to be. They are stable where they are at. As long as they keep improving, they will be alright.

Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes

The sales have been on a freefall. what do you mean "keep improving"?

bold 9900

pushfan

Wow, Nigeria, I'm impressed. Maybe if FOX News saw that Blackberry would not have made number 2 on their tech items NOT to buy.

Puz_zled

Really?......You consult with Fox before deciding what to buy?.....Do they tell you what to think politically too??
Sent from my BlackBerry Playbook

Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes

They told me if I voted republican people would come at night and touch me.

BlackStormRising

I started watching Blackberry Babes around the time I gave up watching Baywatch.

okie4309

I do agree with this article. Blackberry is very common in Nigeria. I was there in December last year and I went with my Android phone. Alot of people there barely know any other phone. I was forced to get a blackberry because its the only phone all my friends have. I think the reason BB is booming in Nigeria is because of the BBM. Sending a text is very expensive (especially when there is no cheap unlimited data plan) So most people result to using the BBM as their text message and lets not forget that BBM works all around the world.

NaijaBerry

Ok all you guys with the con puns and jokes, yeah we deserve it, but there are many of us honest hard working Nigerians still! Bottom line whether people believe it or not, other markets exist outside the US and they're growing fast! Many people put down chinese products as being cheap knock offs for years and today, they're a world super economy which will eventually overtake the US, best believe it! Its all about the numbers, not about anything else.

BlackBerry has the upper hand in this market, our data networks are mediocre, but these days i'm getting better download speeds from my 9900 mobile hotspot with my MacBook Pro and PlayBook connected to it, its getting better and better. More and more people have BB's i can communicate with my workers for free and as the level of awareness about this increases, more and more people jump onboard, if RIM keeps doing this, it will work its all bout the numbers. Someone talked about Nokia, well Nokia sold handsets, RIM sells handsets and a service that works like no other out here at the lowest cost, 1 email address BIS with BBM is about $8 a month.

I can send my guys to work 200 or more kilometers away and they send me reports with pictures in real time via bbm, this works out here and it works well! As long as RIM can stay alive, this strategy will help their numbers, with or without North America!

jasperlin

+2 very well spoken and reasoned.

cduru

Well-spoken, Olukunlea! The arrogance of some of these people on this post. And yes, I am Nigeria and I am not a spam artist. They forget that there are millions of spammers in the US as well; the same case affects all over the world. I definitely concur that BBM is king in Nigeria because it's cheaper and more convenient for them. My relatives who run businesses there favor RIM over any other brand for that same reason. A few years back, I left RIM for Android; boy, do I miss my BBM! But that's all that I miss though, haha. But, again, your response was well articulated. Thanks for being yet another positive voice for some of us well-educated and hard-working Nigerians out there.

Rootbrian

Let's see RIM take over the world!!

anthogag

Every market is important. Let's rock and roll this!

crackburrie

I'm very happy to hear this. I hope RIM can regain market share in the US when BB10 comes out and I hope they continue to innovate once again, as they did in the early days with Mike and Jim. Long live RIM.

Jberry32

It's pretty smart for RIM not to neglet those markets in which Blackberry is still #1 rather than forget about them all just because It's not popular in the US anymore.

jd914

I mean really, who cares about Nigeria? Isn't that country known for scammers and rip off artist? RIM is really scraping the bottom of the barrel if they are to rely on a delapdated country like Nigeria to keep them afloat. Shameful to report something like this.

Puz_zled

I mean really who cares what JD914 has to say say about one of the most populous (7th at 162 Million) nations. Larger than Japan, 3x France, 2x Germany, and precisely the type of market that current gen Blackberries excel in at providing value to the end user. Handsets and a la carte services no one else can compete with right now. Go sell a few tens of millions of them!!
Sent from my patio on my BlackBerry Playbook.

Shlooky

Yeah the Nigeria scammers are all using BB's LOL

Perjade

This site is becoming desperate to find any kind of "success" for RIM! Now is Nigeria ! LOL !

bvinceb

Not desperate just making sure there is a place for you to be entertained. What would you do if they didn't?

BB 9800 n Playbook -

jd914

Pretty sad when you have to report that BB is popular in a backwards country like Nigeria. What next? Pakistan?

Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes

Here is what is happening, seems for the last while with some articles on this site scraps of information and desperate attempts to find favourable statistics are being made in order to try and fabricate the illusion that the company is growing worldwide. Growing in emerging markets does not matter when an overall sales decline is occuring. Losing four customers in North America, and making three new ones in emerging markets is not exactly progress. It is made to seem the sun is always just at the horizon with RIM, and we are told that some explosion in he low cost market is going to leap frog them over the other companies. I remember it was the same old song when blackberry 6 came out, everyone thought it would be the second coming of jesus to RIMs balance books, and it was just another OS, like 5.0 before it, and blackberry 7 now.

I LOVE MY 9900 AND PLAYBOOK. I AM A DIEHARD FAN. NOT A HATER. I LOVE BLACKBERRY, CURRENT TENSE. JUST TAKING NOTE OF SOME TRENDS.

imax_tm

WOW! I'm appalled at the level of illiteracy of some of the posters here, Fine Nigeria has a poor global image, how that affects RIM is beyond me. CrackBerry reports an article that RIM is doing well there, and you all are calling down fire and brimstone, saying it should not be posted and it’s an embarrassment at best.

It’s rather sad that most of you don’t know that there is a market outside the US, UK, Canada and the rest and that’s why RIM would make it here, (Yes I'm a Nigerian).

In a country with really expensive internet access, BlackBerries are a blessing, you get unlimited data for $10 a month (BIS), on any other brand of phone its $20 for 3gig (Forget getting an unlimited plan) and with the introduction of the newer cheaper phones (I hope they introduce them on time) they just might dominate the market
Any way you look at it… That’s success

kupfernigk

Nigeria is a country that has tripled its GDP in the last 10 years. That's right, tripled. In the same period US GNP has grown around 45%, one sixth of the growth rate.

Yes, it is a relatively poor country. But if you had a technology that was very good for relatively poor countries, and the market in very rich countries was dominated by a single supplier with huge production volumes - where would you sell?

SPO10Kaloy

I envy Nigeria!

Please bring RIM here in the Philippines.

Been dreaming and hoping that someday, RIM store will be opened here in the Philippines.

crossing my fingers!

DavidsonLee

RIM should really get to the global market. People in the Philippines are really into BlackBerries and I'd really love to see an improved BlackBerry experience once RIM decides to park in Phil. Hopefully too all the markets will be filed and satisfied. Needless to say I'm just as excited as you buddy!

Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes

dude we don't even have a RIM store in Waterloo

cduru

Some of your guys sound very close-minded. Reading your comments make me wonder if you have ever traveled or rather lived outside of the United States. All the article is saying (and did explicitly summarize in the last sentence of the last paragraph) is that RIM isn't going under because it's still winning foreign markets though its image in its native land has diminished over the last few years.

I grew up in Nigeria and I do go back frequently. I also went to an engineering institution where the majority of the people were either African or Asian. Judging from conversations had with them and my travels, I can definitely say that RIM has strong penetration in these foreign markets. All you have to do is go to the African colleges for instance: most kids have multiple blackberries. They could care less about the iPhone or any other phone because BBM is global and using data is cheaper for them. So, the culture there is to use BBM more and chat less.

Just because RIM is not dominating the smartphone market here, that does not render their inherent success in the foreign markets useless. There's more to this world than just the happenings of the United States, guys and girls.