Apple now the #1 mobile phone maker in Japan

In their recent Country Market Share Report for Q4 2012, Counterpoint Research finds that Apple’s iPhone shipments have taken over the market share lead in Japan.

– Apple took 16% market share in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 15% for the full year of 2012, reaching the No. 1 spot for the first time in annual terms. Apple has been No. 1 in Japan since November of last year.

– Other foreign brands such as Samsung and LG also increased share in Q4 and theire combined share exceeded 50%. Counterpoint Research says that “Japan is no longer a Galapagos Island as global brands start to dominate.”

Traditional local champions Sharp and Fujitsu each took 14% of the market in 2012. Apple ended Sharp’s 6 year reign last year as it took the crown. Apple had already temporarily displaced Sharp in Q4 2011 but Sharp soon took back the No. 1 spot for the first half of 2012. For the full year of 2012 it was a close call between the three top players in Japan, but Apple rose to supremacy when all was said and done.

In 2012 both Softbank and KDDI heavily promoted the new iPhone 5 to challenge Docomo. This move sparked a battle of smartphones in which Docomo fought back with various new smartphone models, the majority of which were also foreign-branded. So, yet again, operator competition in Japan has catalyzed the iPhone’s success, but at the expense of Japanese firms. In Q4 2012, Apple, Samsung and LG took 50% of the handset market in Japan. Chinese Brands like Huawei saw sales jump three fold in a short period.

Counterpoint Research analysts comment that Japan was once considered to be like a Galapagos Island, an isolated terrain, in terms of mobile technology. It had its own unique digital cellular technology. It was far more advanced than any market in the world and it seemed nearly impossible for any foreign technology company to penetrate the market. Motorola had failed and Nokia had failed. The iPhone and the subsequent wave of Android smartphones have changed the situation now and it looks like the Japanese market is a market that can be transformed after all.

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Source: Counterpoint Research

MacDailyNews Take: You know, because iPhone 5 sales “haven’t been as strong as anticipated,” not to mention that “the Japanese hate the iPhone“.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Sarah” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Japan’s Nikkei, The Wall Street Journal blow it, get iPhone demand story all wrong – January 16, 2013
Analysts: iPhone 5 demand ‘robust;’ ignore the non-news noise – January 15, 2013
Apple iPhone suppliers decline on report orders cut by 50% – January 15, 2013
Apple drops to 11-month low on old reports of component cuts – January 14, 2013
The strange math of Apple’s alleged massive iPhone 5 component cuts – January 14, 2013
UBS analysts: Apple iPhone component order reduction ‘old news’ – January 14, 2013
Apple shares drop below $500 after reported cuts in iPhone 5 parts orders – January 14, 2013

Japan’s iPhone have-not Docomo loses record 40,800 subscribers in November as customers switch carriers for iPhone 5 – December 7, 2012
Researcher: Apple’s iPhone was #1 smartphone in Japan in 2011 with 7.25 million units sold – May 10, 2012
Apple iPhone becomes #1 selling cellphone – of any kind – in Japan – March 9, 2012
Why the Japanese do not hate the iPhone – February 27, 2009


  1. Wow, apple is a very cruel company, it is taking away the only thing left to fandroids, the marketshare. That was the only thing they could be proud of, even that it is useless, but they can’t say they have the best customer satisfaction, they can’t say they have the best product, they can’t say the have the best money can but, they can’t say a lot of things, but right now they are holding on to market share, and apple is taking that away too even that long time ago it was taking all the profits from companies too.
    Bad Apple, Bad Apple!

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