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RIM Unseats Apple in The NPD Group's Latest Smartphone Ranking

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Buy-one-get-one promotions helps RIM increase U.S. consumer market share in first quarter of 2009

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, May 4, 2009 – According to The NPD Group, a leader in wireless industry market research, an aggressive “buy-one-get-one” promotion by Verizon Wireless helped RIM’s BlackBerry Curve move past Apple’s iPhone to become the best-selling consumer smartphone in the U.S. in the first quarter (Q1) of 2009.  RIM’s consumer smartphone market share increased 15 percent to nearly 50 percent of the smartphone market in Q1 2009 versus the prior quarter, as Apple’s and Palm’s share both declined 10 percent each.

Based on U.S. consumer sales of smartphone handsets in NPD’s “Smartphone Market Update” report, the first-quarter 2009 ranking of the top-five best-selling smartphones is as follows:

  1. RIM BlackBerry Curve (all 83XX models)
  2. Apple iPhone 3G (all models)
  3. RIM BlackBerry Storm
  4. RIM BlackBerry Pearl (all models, except flip)
  5. T-Mobile G1

“Verizon Wireless’s aggressive marketing of the BlackBerry Storm and its buy-one-get-one BlackBerry promotion to its large customer base contributed to RIM capturing three of the top five positions,” said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at The NPD Group. “The more familiar, and less expensive, Curve benefited from these giveaways and was able to leapfrog the iPhone, due to its broader availability on the four major U.S. national carriers.”

Smartphones, which represented just 17 percent of handset sales volume in Q1 2008, now make up 23 percent of sales. “Even in this challenging economy, consumers are migrating toward Web-capable handsets and their supporting data plans to access more information and entertainment on the go.” Rubin said. 

Methodology: The NPD Group compiles and analyzes mobile device sales data based on more than 150,000 completed online consumer research surveys each month. Surveys are based on a nationally balanced and demographically representative sample, and results are projected to represent the entire population of U.S. consumers. Note: Sales figures do not include corporate/enterprise mobile phone sales.


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