The Next Generation of Smartphone Buyers Are Not Even Considering RIM’s BlackBerry

Dubbed “essentially broken” this week by Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum, Waterloo’s Research In Motion has seen better days.

It’s bleeding senior executives. It’s laying off people in masses.

It’s got millions of unsold BlackBerrys. It’s losing market share.

Its cash flow is turning red. It’s hiring banks for strategic review.

It’s no longer Canada’s most valuable tech company. And even its own country won’t help.

As a result, RIM’s stock sank more than 7% yesterday, falling to its lowest point since 2003. Worse yet, the company’s one chance for a comeback – resurrecting BlackBerry’s “cool factor” to lure the next generation of smartphone buyers – seems nearly impossible now, at least on this continent.

Interest in purchasing a BlackBerry has diminished tremendously in North America, even in Canada, where RIM products have managed to remain popular due to patriotism and support of the local economy. According to new data from Toronto analytics firm Solutions Research, just 12% of Canadians under 24 plan to make a BlackBerry their next smartphone.

That number was more than 30% just one year ago, signalling a shockingly rapid shift in how youth perceive RIM’s devices. According to ComScore, BlackBerry ownership among teenagers in Canada has plunged 39% in the past year. In the US, the situation is darker still: only 9% of all smartphone users will buy another BlackBerry, and only 6% of youth intend to do so.

RIM is faring better overseas, where in countries such as Nigeria, Brazil, and even Spain, BlackBerrys are still considered cool, trendy gadgets.