Apple's iPhone now accounts for one in three Japanese mobile phone shipments

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2014
After striking a deal to sell the iPhone through Japan's largest wireless telecom NTT DoCoMo, Apple now owns more than 36 percent of the country's entire cellular market, far outpacing worldwide rival Samsung.



According to the latest statistics from Tokyo-based market research firm MM Research Institute Ltd., Apple's iPhone accounted for 36.6 percent of all Japanese mobile phone shipments for the year ended in March, reports Bloomberg.

Apple's iPhone business boomed from a 25.5 percent marketshare for the year ago period, representing an 11.1 percent boost in shipments year-to-year. For the 2013 fiscal year, Apple shipped a total of 14.43 million iPhones in Japan. The huge jump is thanks to a new deal with longtime holdout NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest carrier by subscribership, the firm said.

Trailing Apple was Sharp, which shipped 5.14 million phones to take 13 percent of the market, while Sony managed to ship 4.8 million units for a 12.3 percent share.

As for Samsung, the Korean company's various handsets took a 5.7 percent share of the market, putting it in sixth place.

The news comes as no surprise given Apple's continued dominance of the smartphone side of Japan's mobile phone market. In the fourth quarter of 2013, the iPhone took a massive 68.7 percent share of smartphone sales and was the top-selling handset on all three major wireless providers.

Vital to 2013's boost in sales was DoCoMo, which only started selling Apple's smartphone last fall. In its first full month of availability through the carrier in October, the iPhone accounted for 61 percent of DoCoMo's smartphone market.

Since the iPhone launched on Japan's SoftBank in 2008, DoCoMo was reluctant to agree to Apple's partner carrier policies and instead conducted business as usual, pushing domestic brands on its post-paid customers. In 2012, the firm finally admitted rival telecoms SoftBank and KDDI were sapping subscribers away with Apple's handset and wanted in on the deal.

Apple first reached the top of Japan's sales charts in 2012 when the iPhone captured 26.6 percent of the smartphone market, squeezing out competition from domestic smartphone makers like Sharp and Toshiba. At the time, Apple marketed only one model -- the iPhone 4S -- through SoftBank, the county's first exclusive provider to offer the handset.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    justp1ayinjustp1ayin Posts: 205member
    oops i did it again
  • Reply 2 of 43
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,743member
    This is for all cellphones, not just smartphones.
  • Reply 3 of 43
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,269member
    Going to Japan in three weeks. Reading a book on modern Japanese culture and customs. Says they rate foreigners in order of popularity. English speakers get the most respect, Koreans the least. No surprise this extends to buying preferences.
  • Reply 4 of 43
    constable odoconstable odo Posts: 1,041member

    But... but... but the Japanese were supposed to hate the iPhone because their feature-phones were so much more functional (well that's what the analysts had always said).  There's still no place to attach a Hello Kitty strap to the iPhone which is a must-have feature.  Apple is very fortunate that the Japanese don't have a whole lot of love for South Korea and S. K. companies.  Apple practically wins Japanese smartphone market share by default.  The iPhone causing both smartphone and camera companies to suffer in Japan.  It's rather amazing.  They say the teens in Japan are heavily addicted to smartphone usage and spend almost all day browsing.  The iPhone is definitely the go-to smartphone for browsing the internet.  Anyway, it's good to hear iPhone sales are still rising in Japan and may only get better when larger display iPhones are available.

  • Reply 5 of 43
    planktonplankton Posts: 107member

    Yep, and every one of those three carriers LOCKS the iPhone and keeps it locked even after it goes off-contract.

    It's a disgraceful ignoring of Japanese consumer rights and I think it continues like this because Japanese pols are in the pockets of Japanese mobile carriers—but what do I know after having lived here for just 30 years!

    Apple—you need to stick up for consumer rights in one of your key mobile markets.

  • Reply 6 of 43
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    This is for ALL mobile phones in japan? Insane. The Japanese have good taste.
  • Reply 7 of 43
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    This is for all cellphones, not just smartphones.

     

    Remember, Mel, when people said Apple could never crack Japan?

  • Reply 8 of 43
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,655member

    I clearly remembered the vitriol the iHating lapdogs were spewing when the iPhone was going to be sold in Japan.  "No one will buy the iPhone", "iPhone will be a disaster".  "Japanese expect more from their phones", "iPhone is 'too simple' for advanced users like Japan".



    These basement-dwellers were all high-and-mighty in their predictions and beliefs that they knew what everyone else wanted.



    Where are those sh!theads now?  They are just nowhere to be seen.  I guess their mommies locked them back in the basements?

  • Reply 9 of 43
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,044member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

     

    I clearly remembered the vitriol the iHating lapdogs were spewing when the iPhone was going to be sold in Japan.  "No one will buy the iPhone", "iPhone will be a disaster".  "Japanese expect more from their phones", "iPhone is 'too simple' for advanced users like Japan".



    These basement-dwellers were all high-and-mighty in their predictions and beliefs that they knew what everyone else wanted.



    Where are those sh!theads now?  They are just nowhere to be seen.  I guess their mommies locked them back in the basements?


     

    nah they just pretend that never happened.

  • Reply 10 of 43
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,610member

    The Japanese have good taste, and money.  :)

  • Reply 11 of 43
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Going to Japan in three weeks. Reading a book on modern Japanese culture and customs. Says they rate foreigners in order of popularity. English speakers get the most respect, Koreans the least. No surprise this extends to buying preferences.

    That was my thought. It's nice for Apple but not shocking that Samsung isn't popular there. Now if Sony could produce a better device I think the Japanese would eat it up.
  • Reply 12 of 43
    ksecksec Posts: 1,565member

    I would just like to point out iPhone lowest market shares happens to be ......... South Korea.

  • Reply 13 of 43
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    ksec wrote: »
    I would just like to point out iPhone lowest market shares happens to be ......... South Korea.

    They seem to be killing it well with customer satisfaction.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    ksecksec Posts: 1,565member

    Yes, because I think Apple customers happens to understand Apple to a varying different level. Then there is the Anti Samsung which helps a bit.

     

    But honestly Apple market share is reaching to Single Digit in South Korea. There is going to be lots of work for Apple to do.

  • Reply 15 of 43
    robbishrobbish Posts: 7member
    Good taste, I thought Japan liked their iPhones due to the amount you see in photos when Hollywood stars visit japan at Movie premiers etc. never underestimate the Japanese population's begrudging of all things Korean! Samsung have slaughtered Sony in the past decade, not to mention LG. I would have thought Sony would have been stronger in the mobile market. I think within the next 5 years, Sony will make huge gains, they are innovative, let's face it, they have the camera lens and technology side pretty much sewn up!
  • Reply 16 of 43
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,096member
    @constable odo

    You've obviously never been to Japan (or if you have, have not noticed how they use the iPhone nor been in any store selling iPhone accessories and paraphernalia). They have the Hello Kitty hanger thing problem cracked already -- they have headphone jack inserts that they use for their "hanging" thingy that they all seem to have on their phones. It has a plastic headphone plug that plugs snugly in the headphone jack and then they hang Hello Kitty or whatever off it. Go to Yodobashi Camera or other big electronics retailer and see how many ROWS, whole rows of Apple iPhone related stuff they have for sale -- hangers, cases, styli, chargers, cables, etc.

    My wife is from Japan and we try and go every other year to visit her family and let the kids get to know grandma and the aunts and grand aunts. Both my SIL have iPhones though one has both a DOCOMO non-iPhone [she had been with DOCOMO forever and did not want to lose the email address and phone number] as well as a KDDI/AU iPhone, which she got a year before DOCOMO got the iPhone. I think she said she was going to replace her DOCOMO phone with an iPhone sometime soon. My other SIL has had a 4S on SoftBank for several years. In terms of smart phones, almost everyone you see on the subway etc seems to have an iPhone. You occasionally see an Android phone of some sort and you see the non smart phones as well.

    We've been to Korea once for a couple days on the way to Japan to visit. Koreans seem to buy local in everything. When I was there, it seemed that almost every car you saw was a Korean model. You hardly saw anything else. I saw maybe two Japanese brand cars, a handful of American cars, and of course some high end European models, but almost every car was a Korean make. Everything else seemed that way as well (though they did have KFC, Baskin Robbins, and The Outback all visible from our hotel room, so maybe food establishments are more welcome). I would not be surprised if that buy-local feeling extended to their phones as well.
  • Reply 17 of 43
    revenantrevenant Posts: 502member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ksec View Post

     

    I would just like to point out iPhone lowest market shares happens to be ......... South Korea.


    that must be changing, I teach at a university in Seoul, over half of my students have iPhone 4s-5s. most of them tell me they want the 6.

  • Reply 18 of 43
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by chadbag View Post



    Both my SIL have iPhones though one has both a DOCOMO non-iPhone [she had been with DOCOMO forever and did not want to lose the email address and phone number] 

     

    I thought that Japan had number portability now? I know it came it later than most countries (it didn't exist when I lived in Japan six years ago) and was touted as the reason that NTT DoCoMo's marketshare collapsed. 

     

    I'm guessing that e-mail portability doesn't exist though. :)

  • Reply 19 of 43
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member

    Countries that have a high iOS adoption and usage rate are generally better countries to live in, richer and more successful than those countries that have high adoption rates of Android and very low iOS adoption rates.

     

    I'm not at all surprised that Japan is one of those countries where the iPhone is extremely popular. 

     

    I came across this interesting chart on another site, and it's pretty obvious to see that as you move down towards the bottom of the list, the countries become progressively worse and towards the bottom of the list you find more dictatorships and poorer countries than those at the top of the list. That is no coincidence. Basically, the point is that much of Android's success (if one can call it a success) can be attributed to poverty.

     

    The more iPhones in use, the happier the society and population are. The more Android devices that are in use, the more miserable and poor the population is, and the greater chance of living under a totalitarian rule. Those are my conclusions.

     

  • Reply 20 of 43
    planktonplankton Posts: 107member

    Japan has MNP and the iPhone is very popular here.  At the same time, there is real lack of price competition between the three carriers au, Softbank and DoCoMo even now after DoCoMo has joined the iPhone club.  This lack of price competition and flexibility is due to the LOCK that all carriers implement on their hardware even after the phone comes off contract after 26 months.  A few Android phones are "SIM-free" but most phones are not and all iPhones from carriers are locked.

    In addition, there are absolutely no Payn'Go SIMs to be bought here.  There are a few MVNP operators like BIC SIM offering a reasonable deal on voice and data SIMs using the DoCoMo network but they still require a 2-year contract and proof of residence.  Apple Japan has just recently begun selling unlocked iPhones online from the Apple Store but at $730 for the base model of the 5S, not many people want to pay that upfront and even fewer Japanese know that unlocked iPhones can be bought from Apple Japan!

    Maybe this market needs a bit of disruption other than Apple taking a 36% share of the Japanese cell phone market!  I only hope that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics results in Payn'Go SIMs for overseas visitors carrying unlocked phones, otherwise there will be a lot of frustrated tourists.

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