BlackBerry's UK user base plummets to below 1 million

UK smartphone users shun BlackBerry

eMarketer’s latest forecast of mobile phone usage in the UK paints a very bleak picture for BlackBerry, as the number of UK consumers using the operating system will decline dramatically this year and dip below 1 million users. 

While BlackBerry’s market share has been slipping for several years now, eMarketer’s latest figures indicate that it now has as few as 700,000 users in the UK, with this number expected to fall to 400,000 by 2017.

BlackBerry’s demise has been well documented, as the iPhone’s and Android’s growing popularity eroded its user base—in the past two years alone, its UK market share fell from 8.0% to a mere 1.9%, eMarketer estimates. Last year, a further blow came when Windows Phone ousted BlackBerry from its third-place position among the UK smartphone user base.

“BlackBerry’s fall from grace has been spectacular, but these latest figures show that even its previously loyal core seems to be leaving in droves. Its market share has been decimated by Android and iOS, and more recently by Windows Phone, which is slowly gaining a foothold in the UK market. As these operating systems continue to see growth in their market shares, it’s likely we’ll see BlackBerry drop off the map completely, leaving us with just three main players in the UK market,” said Bill Fisher, UK analyst at eMarketer.

Windows Phone, meanwhile, has seen its popularity grow, and eMarketer estimates that it will have 3.3 million users in the UK this year. Android-based handsets account for an outright majority of smartphones in the UK, with iOS representing almost one-third. This doesn’t leave too much room for other competitors, but Windows Phone is clearly making space for itself, with a projected 8.5% market share this year.

eMarketer estimates that in total, 38.3 million people in the UK will own and use a smartphone at least monthly this year, up 9.0% over 2014 usage levels. This will take the UK smartphone population to over 70% of mobile phone users. By 2019, eMarketer projects, nearly 70% of the country’s total population will have a smartphone.

eMarketer bases all of its forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.