Apple dominates Japan’s smartphone market with 72% market share; sales tripled in latest quarter

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“Apple Inc.’s iPhone has cracked the Japanese market, quickly becoming the best-selling smartphone here and challenging the long-held notion that this country’s large cellphone market is hostile to foreign brands,” Daisuke Wakabayashi reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Overseas cellphone makers have almost no presence in Japan even though it is one of the world’s biggest mobile-phone markets, with 110 million subscribers. Finland’s Nokia Corp., the world’s largest handset maker, has all but pulled out of Japan, while South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. and Blackberry maker Research In Motion Ltd., of Canada, have been unable to gain a significant share,” Wakabayashi reports.

“The iPhone sold 1.7 million units in Japan, or 72% of all smartphones sold, in the fiscal year ended March 31, and its popularity has pushed the smartphone segment to double in size from a year earlier, according to Tokyo-based MM Research Institute Ltd.,” Wakabayashi reports. “While the overall handset market in Japan is essentially flat, Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., said iPhone sales in Japan nearly tripled in the latest quarter.”

Wakabayashi reports, “The iPhone’s success is starting to change the landscape of Japan’s market by lifting the fortunes of its exclusive Japanese supplier Softbank Corp., which has added new subscribers at nearly three times the pace of market leader NTT DoCoMo Inc. and KDDI Corp. since the iPhone was released here in 2008.”

Full article here.

[Attribution: Fortune. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “jax44” for the heads up.]


  1. @loopy_nj

    The Wired editors address these new market share numbers with a footnote to that article that includes this:

    “…we would stress that when our report was written in February 2009, an analyst listed reasons for why he thought the iPhone wasn’t selling well: high price, lack of a video camera and support for multimedia messaging. All three of those shortcomings have now been addressed.”

  2. @loopy

    Are there no editors or fact checkers anymore?

    The Wired/gadget lab article you linked refers to the iPhone’s “low-quality camera”

    I read a study recently in something liker C-net or PC Mag or maybe even wired itself, that rated every one of the hundreds of phone cameras, based on overall picture quality, and the iPhone was rated #1 out of all of them.

    And then to call the iPhone’s design “unfashionable?!” Define fashionable. Every smart phone maker’s latest phones are all desperately trying to look and operate just like an iPhone.

    What pure hateful dishonesty.

  3. In 2 or 3 years, what will Apple’s stock be worth as the iPhone dominates 50% to 72% of the smartphone market place around the world!

    What will the halo do for the Mac sales around the world?

    iPhones, iPads, Macs, MacBooks, and a BILLION DOLLAR SERVER FARM cloud server feeding them! Oh and Steve Jobs next “Just one more thing”!

    Hang on for the ride of your life. The one you will be telling the grand kids about saying that you were there and a part of it!

  4. In my shop here in Northern Japan, on a normal day, 2 out of every 3 customers lays an iPhone down on their table as they eat their meal… What I see on a daily basis definitely supports those numbers.

  5. Wow…amazing how 72% of all non Japanese made OS’s turns to 72% of all smartphone sales. I forgot the actual percentage of smartphone sales but its in the single digits. As I understand it most that do buy the iPhone there simply buy it to use as an iPod touch.

  6. There are 94 millions of Internet users in Japan, probably around the same number of users using phones with Edge, video, Internet, etc. Saying that “iPhone cracked the Japanese market because it sold $1.7M devices” is just plain ridiculous and the proof of the lack of knowledge re the Japanese market. Stop being fan boys guys ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  7. A number of problems here.

    The most obvious: Note the 72% figure is of “smartphone” sales. The thing is, smartphones don’t sell well in Japan (or anywhere else. The iPhone’s actual market share in Japan among all cell phones is 4.9%, according to the very same report from MM Research Institute Ltd. everyone is quoting for the 72% figure.

    Now, mind you, that is slightly better than the iPhone’s global market share among cell phones — which is 3 percent in Q1 2010. (Smartphones sold 54.7 mil units; they’re 18.8% of global sales; that yields global sales total devices of 290.96 mil units; of which Apple sold 8.8 mil.)

    Around the world, 97% of the market looks at the iPhone — and buys something else. In Japan, that’s “only” 95% buying something else, but it still ain’t great.

    The iPhone has a smaller market share than Linux.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.