The recent market surveys have revealed that Apple has become the number one and thus top selling phone manufacturer in Japan! Allowing Apple to gain the whole 15% of the country’s smartphone market share, iPhone has been the best-selling phone in Japan throughout 2012, putting them ahead two Japanese firms - Sharp and Fujitsu, both holding 14% share of the market. The Counterpoint Technology Market Research points out that the huge increase of iPhone sales in the country are caused by the heavy marketing effort by Japan’s second- and third-largest carriers - KDDI and Softbank:
“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 it’s operator competition that has catalyzed the iPhone’s success – but in Japan at the expense of home grown players.” However, we think that this may be due to adding Japanese language support to Siri as well.
Generally, the handsets manufactured outside Japan controlled 50% of the country’s phone market in 2012, as the users started gradually shifting from simple feature phones to smartphones. The share of Japanese-made phones has significantly decreased against the iPhone. Smartphone usage is progressively growing in Japan and so does the probability of iPhone being chosen by the customers. While the situation is not the same for the US, it is still quite a significant achievement for Apple to hold such a massive market portion in Japan.