Despite challenges from a host of other vendors offering sophisticated mobile handsets to mobile professionals, the dominant position of BlackBerry among enterprise IT professionals is little changed, according to new survey data from market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey.
Produced by Research in Motion, BlackBerry devices are "by far the preferred handset manufacturer among survey respondents," according to the research highlights. Conducted by Sage Research, the technology arm of Chadwick Martin Bailey, the survey collected responses from hundreds of IT decision-makers at large enterprises (1,000-plus employees).
The survey also indicates that RIM and its competitors haven't been particularly successful at pushing smartphone use beyond the executive suite. While more than 60% of the responding organizations use BlackBerry or other smartphones, "these deployments are typically not widespread and benefit only certain types of employees," including executives, sales staff, and IT workers.
Vendors including Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung have all released new models aimed directly at overcoming BlackBerry's preeminence in the last 18 months. They also have pursued acquisitions to add mobile email to their device offerings: Nokia acquired Intellisync in February 2006, while Motorola bought Good Technology last November.
The Intellisync acquisition "puts Nokia in an unparalleled position in the business mobility market," said Mary McDowell, executive VP and general manager of Nokia's enterprise solutions unit, at the time.
That hasn't helped it erode the dominance of BlackBerry. Analysts over the last year have predicted that RIM's market share would erode as rival vendors released advanced converged devices offering both cellular and Wi-Fi connections, but the company once again posted strong results in its most recent quarterly earnings report. For the first quarter of fiscal 2008, RIM's revenue was $1.082 billion, up 76.5% from the same period last year. RIM shipped about 2.4 million devices in the quarter and added 1.2 million BlackBerry subscribers, topping the 9 million total mark.
"They absolutely have the first mover advantage in this market," said Sage Research senior consultant Chris Neal. "They've been around quite some time, so if there's a hangover effect, it's a pretty long-lasting one."
Last month, RIM released its first converged (i.e., Wi-Fi enabled) version of its popular handheld line, the BlackBerry 8820, to mostly strong reviews.
In the US, custom research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) has joined with specialist marketing firm AgencySacks to provide insights to companies that target the affluent consumer.
Their new Affluence Collaborative will link marketers with researchers, practitioners and an advisory panel of thought leaders, while providing a forum for discussion and debate to uncover data about the affluent consumer segment.
Four quarterly reports will provide in-depth quantitative reviews, partly on a specific theme of interest and partly dedicated to current topics.
These reports will also benchmark key measures, allowing members to see changes in perception and behaviors over time. Additional topical pulse surveys will be conducted to provide instant insight on trends and events.
Data will be collected online via interviews among three sub-groups of the affluent population, as well as the mass market. This will enable a comparison of attitudes, perceptions and behaviors among different income levels, while tracking key measures over time.
In addition, members will have the opportunity to customize research by adding proprietary questions and including their own customers as respondents in the surveys. First results are due in the fourth quarter of 2009.
‘We brought together a combination of researchers, practitioners, and thought leaders for the explicit purpose of making this a holistically-conceived business, much more than a traditional research product,’ stated AgencySacks Partner Andrew Sacks. 'The contributions and analyses of the group elevate the research to practical information that can and will affect a company’s bottom-line.’
The Affluence Collaborative is now accepting membership from businesses on a category-exclusive basis, covering everything from retail to airlines and real estate to technology.