RIM shifts focus from execs to teens for BlackBerry

RIM shifts focus from execs to teens for BlackBerry
PTI
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First Published: Sun, Jun 13 2010. 03 50 PM IST
Updated: Sun, Jun 13 2010. 03 50 PM IST
Mumbai: Long considered a device catering to corporate executives wanting to do business-on-the-move, Research-In-Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone has now got a new category of users -- teenagers.
Playing catalyst to the creation of a new landscape for Blackberry in India is the obsessive interest shown by the country’s teens in social networking sites like Facebook and applications like chatting.
“We are witnessing a large number of teenagers using BlackBerrys and applications like BlackBerry Messenger, which helps them send messages for free, instantly, to any other BlackBerry user in the world,” RIM global chief marketing officer Keith Pardy told PTI on the sidelines of an event here.
Pardy refused to give any empirical data supporting the trend, but maintained that the company has got to a position where sales to corporates and retail subscribers were in a 50:50 ratio.
A senior RIM official indicated that in the December, 2009-February, 2010, quarter, the company witnessed a never-before trend where the share of retail customers shot up to 80% of total sales.
“Many of them have to be youngsters,” the official said.
Business consultant Harish Bijoor called it a change which RIM would have observed in hindsight through sales data of last year, when telecom infrastructure in India strengthened. Accordingly, it has now started targeting the newer set of users.
“According to a proprietary study done by us, 28% of people under 25 years use smartphones for social networking, thus augmenting the telecom company’s revenue per user (RPU),” Bijoor said.
RIM surely realises that it makes little business sense to associate itself as a phone purely for businessmen and executives, hence they are changing their positioning in a concerted way by introducing newer applications, he added.
Pardy said the Canada-headquartered company is very serious about the Indian market and in a first for any market globally, has launched an India-specific video in their “Love What You Do” campaign, which Bijoor says is aimed at youngsters.
“India is young and the phones will have to be young. Focus on relevance to the youth, originality and innovation to bring better applications are the key,” Bijoor said.
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First Published: Sun, Jun 13 2010. 03 50 PM IST