Slide one: MethodologyOur study comprised mainly a number of qualitative interviews, each lasting a minimumof 25-30 minutes. We approached various kinds of phone users, as well as retailers,attempting to spread our study over the widest range of people possible.The interviews started off with a general overview of people’s phone usage habits, theirpast history with phones, how many phones they’d had, what they use phones for, andwhat they look for in a phone. We tried to find out what our interviewees consideredabsolutely essential in a phone, as well as additional bonus features that they looked forin phones. We then asked them about their favourite phone brands and why they are so.Based on their responses, most of which fortunately for us, tallied with our topic- i.e.Blackberries and iPhones, we asked more questions, and guided the conversation towardsour primary focus- a comparison between iPhones and Blackberries.Our study initially aimed to pinpoint which phone is better, more popular, and why.However, our interviews provided no clear “winner” as such, and so we shifted the focusof our study to a comparison of the two phones, and understanding why people buy both-the good and bad points of both phones.Slide Two: What people look for in a phoneThere are a few things people nowadays consider essential in phones. For the youngerset, it was a camera, music, Bluetooth, etc. The older generation looked for internetaccess, email capability, user friendliness and large memory capacity. As you can seefrom the table, we asked our interviewees which of the two phones- the iPhone or theBlackberry- fulfilled an essential “condition” of a phone more.Our results were:Essential application iPhone BlackberryCamera X XMusic XBluetooth XUser friendliness XMemory X XeMail XIn our interviews, we also asked various phone users why they would buy either theiPhone or Blackberry.People said they would buy the blackberry mainly for its BBM (Blackberry Messaging)service, which allows them to message other blackberry users for free. This proved to beBlackberry’s strongest point, especially amongst the youth, who use text messages morethan the older set, and who can now message their friends who have even gone to collegeabroad for free. Other reasons for the purchase of a Blackberry according to our
interviewees were that it looks nice, the games such as Word Mole and BrickBreaker arevery popular, and that email was very easily accessible on the go with a Blackberry.The iPhone’s USPs were its unique and large touchscreen, which some users said wasvery smooth and comfortable to touch, rather than tapping on keypads. The applicationswhich can be downloaded on the iPhone, which are varied and large in number were alsoa big draw, especially amongst college students who liked playing them in class. Apartfrom its super large memory capacity, as well as the fact that it looked classy, manypeople said it was convenient, as it combined their phone and iPod into one entity.From our study so far, the main insights we gleaned were that the iPhone’s touchscreenand applications were its biggest USPs, whereas the Blackberry’s BBM feature was theonly major factor contributing to its popularity.Slide Three: Why each phone became popularThe iPhone was launched at a time when brand Apple was huge, with the immensepopularity of iPods, the Macbooks, etc. The huge number of people using Apple productslearned quickly of the iPhone’s existence by visiting the Apple website, and the iPhone,even prior to its release, became something of a cult figure amongst the tech savvy andtrend chasing youth. When iPhone released, sales skyrocketed, and people bought itbecause it was such an of the moment trend. The concept of a phone with a touchscreenof that size was new, and everyone wanted a piece of it. The online community spread theword, and rave reviews about the look and applications of the phone led to its initialpopularity. It was only after the initial craze that people began to realize that the phonelacked in basic features like Bluetooth and forwarding of messages (these were twofeatures that people mentioned in particular).Blackberry:The Blackberry smartphone has existed since 2002. It is only recently that the productfaced some kind of revival, due to the introduction of the Blackberry Messenger feature.This feature was a boon to students who love messaging friends, even those who hadgone abroad to study, and found their salvation in the free messaging service. Most of ourinterviewees said they had bought their Blackberries because all their friends had them.In certain cases, this could be interpreted as peer influence, i.e. to be popular and trendyand to have what your friends had, and in some cases, it was a matter of numbers- a largenumber of friends with blackberries made owning a BB convenient, as you could nowcontact them for free. The Blackberry, initially a business phone which relied upon itsinstant email access as it’s USP, metamorphosed into a phone for the youth. Themultimedia features such as music, games, etc. were emphasized upon, to furtheraccentuate this, and it worked wonders for the Blackberry. One of the most quaint waysin which the Blackberry managed to gain popularity was by the trend of putting one’s BBpin number as a Facebook or MSN status. It elicited curiosity and envy amongst theyouth, and worked in the favour of creating more demand for the Blackberry.
Slide Four: Client ProfilingWe covered a large range of people to interview, so as to obtain optimum and mostunbiased results. We divided the results of our study under certain client profiles so as tohelp us understand their input better.I. AGEThe first category was the age of the client.Young people, that is, people under the age of 16, surprisingly formed a part of our targetbase. The popularity of these two phones was evident from this fact alone! Or was it? Wediscovered that a large part of them actually inherited an older sibling/parent’s phone, andthat it was not their choice alone. For those who actually had their own phones, theiPhone was popular because of its applications and user friendliness, and the Blackberrymore due to peer pressure.The youth, who formed the main part of our study said they bought the iPhone because: (i) Applications (ii) Music (iii) It looks “cool”.The Blackberry was mainly popular with them because of the BBM feature. It was a sortof snowball effect that the Blackberry became so popular- three friends ownedblackberries, and so the rest of their friends also bought it to be able to message them forfree, and as more and more people bought Blackberries, the BBM community grew.The older set mostly stayed away from iPhones. The touchscreen concept was too newfor them, and they preferred the good old QWERTY keypad, which they were alreadyused to. The Blackberry was useful to them because of its email feature, internetaccessibility, and GPS. The ones who owned iPhones owned them for certainapplications that were helpful to them in their line of work. Neither the music nor theapplications worked for the iPhone in the case of this group of consumers.II. OCCUPATIONStudents, businessmen, and professionals were the main occupations into which weclassified our target base.The reasons for students to buy either phone are pretty much those of the youth. TheBlackberry has free messaging, has awesome games, and all their friends have them. TheiPhone looks cool and has applications, and can also double up as an iPod.Businessmen shunned the iPhone, it didn’t seem professional enough to them, and theyhad no use for the applications. The Blackberry, on the other hand, had alreadyestablished itself as a business phone in their heads, and they found the email access to be
highly convenient, especially for businessmen constantly on the run. Microsoft Officewas also supported by the Blackberries, and worked in their favour. The businessmen’smain use for the phone was business, and NOT the BBM feature.Professionals such as doctors said the iPhone had applications that were useful to them intheir line of work, and that they had no use for blackberries.III. SEXAnother basis for comparison of the sales process was sex of the interviewee.Males bought the Blackberry mainly because of the games. Being tagged a “businessphone” it seemed older, more mature than an iPhone. The BBM feature was not aprimary factor in purchase of the Blackberry. The iPhone gained popularity because ofthe thousands of applications that could be downloaded on it, and also because boysattached great value to the brand Apple.Girls went gaga over the BBM messaging feature. They love to message and keep intouch, and the free messaging service was the biggest factor in the purchase of aBlackberry. The iPhone’s popularity was more for the giant camera, and because itlooked so nice. The “zooming into photos” feature of the phone also appealed a lot towomen, because it was so novel.IV. PURCHASE PROCESS:We also managed to divide the consumers into groups based on the purchase processes.One type of user was someone who had received the phone as a gift. Both the iPhone andBlackberry were very popular as gifts to give to your adolescent children. However, wealso found out that parents bought the iPhone as a present independent of any influence,and that people who had received Blackberries as presents had usually asked their parentsfor them.The second type of purchase process was according to price. The person buying thephone would have a budget, and depending on this, they would buy a phone which bestsuits their needs. Both phones scored pretty low in this category, the iPhone wasconsidered super expensive, and the Blackberry was not reasonably priced either.However, the cheaper models of Blackberry, recently released, gained popularityamongst buyers.The third type of purchase process was the typical go to a store with a general idea,browse, look at alternatives, compare, decide and finally buy the phone. For theBlackberry, people come in and say “I want to buy a Blackberry.” And they are unawareof the difference between the models, the features, etc, and need to be explained. iPhonebuyers have a fixed idea, and generally spend less time making the purchase decision. Forbuyers of these two phones, price is generally not an issue- they just look for the phone
that suits their needs the best. In fact, a few people said they’d buy the phone BECAUSEit was expensive (this could be some kind of price illusion, that a high price equalssuperior quality and the luxury factor comes in).Slide Five: INSIGHTS:Our observations during this study ranged from the surprising to the funny. We are goingto list the foremost of these below:1. The iPhone and Blackberry crazes could not be as easily compared as we thought theycould be, as we realized later that it was the launch of a new product (the iPhone) versusthe revival of an old product (the Blackberry). Both phones had their reasons for theirpopularity, and each has unique features the other doesn’t possess.2. Both phones were popularized mainly by word of mouth. While the online communityspread the word of the iPhones imminent launch, it was the Facebook statuses and peerinfluences that increased the popularity of the Blackberry. Although both phones arewidely advertised in the print media as well as online, most people didn’t even talk aboutthe advertisement being a factor in the purchase of the phone, but more about howeveryone had it, or that it was trendy.3. There were two types of boys who bought the Blackberry. Those who wanted to playthe games, and bought it because it was a big, manly looking phone. These boys didn’treally use the BBM feature, because they don’t message constantly, and don’t like beingannoyed by the messages. The other kind was the metrosexual man- the kind who liked togossip and message and talk- and they were the ones who bought the Blackberry for itsBBM feature.4. Although the iPhone had more appealing features, such as the touchscreen,applications, and looks, the Blackberry managed to match its popularity with its one mainUSP- the BBM messenger feature, which, it seemed counted for more than all of theiPhone’s features- so said the Blackberry users.5. Users of neither of the two phones mostly said they wouldn’t want either phone. Themain reasons were that both were too big, or too expensive, or too complicated. Peoplesaid that there were less expensive and easier to use phones with the same features.6. The brand Apple seemingly generated more brand loyalty than the Blackberry. Mostpeople didn’t even know that the Blackberry isn’t an independent brand, but a product ofa company called RIM. More BB users said they would convert to the iPhone, if theiPhone had been cheaper. The iPhone users criticized the Blackberry a lot, and said theywould not change.