Apple iPhone takes the top spot in Japan last year for the first time ever

Apple iPhone takes the top spot in Japan last year for the first time ever
The Apple iPhone has conquered many countries, but it wasn't until last year that it had the leading market share in Japan on an annual basis. That's right, for Apple it was the leader in the Japanese smartphone market for the first time ev-uh. For the fourth quarter, the Apple iPhone held 16% of the Japanese market and it wound up the whole year with a 15% slice of the pie. Apple had taken over first place on a quarterly basis before, replacing hometown fan favorite Sharp in Q4 of 2011, but Sharp recovered and regained the top spot for the first half of last year.

The Korean smartphone twins, LG and Samsung, also both increased market share in Japan last year as the combined share of all foreign brands exceeded 50% for the first time. Chinese manufacturer Huawei saw its market share triple. Previously, it was hard for a foreign handset to crack the market. But with carriers like KDDI and Softbank heavily spending to promote the Apple iPhone 5, local manufacturers like Sharp and Fujitsu each had to accept a reduced 14% of the market.

The Japanese market used to consist of advanced featurephones running carrier designed OS or a proprietary OS designed by the handset manufacturer. But with the popularity of Android, foreign names like Samsung, LG, Huawei and ZTE have an advantage in producing Android flavored models that the Japanese firms don't have (outside of Sony, which is more of a global player). But for 2012, it was iOS, specifically the Apple iPhone, that ended Sharp's six consecutive years on top of the Japanese smartphone market.

source: CounterpointResearch via AppleInsider

Related phones

iPhone 5
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A6, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1440 mAh(8h 3G talk time)



1. husfus

Posts: 62; Member since: Oct 21, 2012

What about Sony?

2. jcpwn2004

Posts: 314; Member since: Jan 18, 2012

I was just going to ask the same thing, pretty surprised here. Congrats to apple, I would just assume that sony/samsung/huawei would be dominating.

3. wendygarett unregistered

Most iPhone users in Japan are Nintendo fans :)

4. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

There is and always will be a soft spot for Nintendo in my heart. My N64 still looks brand new after 16 years.

5. wendygarett unregistered

I love Nintendo because of pokemon :p but nice to see you have an antique from them :)

8. GeekMovement unregistered

N64 is antique? I still play Super Nintendo with the classic Super Mario World and the original Donkey Kong Countries. But aside from that note, I am one of the "odd" ones that is a nintendo fan, but not an iPhone user.

6. imsickwithsmartphone

Posts: 153; Member since: Jan 28, 2013


7. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Your name and avatar leads me to believe you're ready for the iPhone 20.

10. imsickwithsmartphone

Posts: 153; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I'm always ready whatever Apple will release their product XD

11. bachelorrn0121

Posts: 57; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

If apple release is**t and they said it is most nutritious food you will eat it?

12. imsickwithsmartphone

Posts: 153; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

No way I will eat that kind of fruit.... XD

9. bakhtawar

Posts: 41; Member since: Nov 22, 2012

this year sony f**k every one :P

13. jsdechavez

Posts: 814; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

But most other phones in Japan are miles ahead of the iPhone5! Take Sharp Aquos phones for example, they're all waterproof. What's happening Japs?

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