Only in Japan: flip phone share growing, smartphones on decline

Remember the good old days, and the reassuring click when you close your flip phone, signalling to your brain that the call has indeed ended? Or the ultimate convenience to flip it open, and have the microphone right next to your mouth, while the earpiece is sitting firmly to your ear, instead of fumbling with giant screen phone that are now increasingly hard to grasp?

Well, the Japanese do, and they seem to have a newfound love for the flip phone form factor. Well, this being Japan, the flippers are a bit richer in functionalities than those in the days past, but still it is intriguing to hear that their market share actually increased last year. Flip phone shipments were up 5.7% to 10.6 million in 2014, while smartphone ones declined 5.3% for yet another year in Japan. 

The culprit might be the country's outrageous smartphone data plan prices, which are much higher than if you are just donning a flip phone for talk, text and light web usage. We bet those good ol' flippers are a dime a dozen, too, which might have spearheaded their proliferation amongst Japan's aging population, contrary to the rest of the world.

source: Reuters



1. Anterv

Posts: 178; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

Ironically, your brains get smarter without smartphone.

2. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

Economic crisis + age + tired of big phones and too much social mabe?

4. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

New trend: Going back to flip phones, Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up, Going back to Playstation One, 2000 Toyota Corolla. METRO AWAITS...MAKE BELIEVE...LIKE NO OTHERS...Welcome back to the good old days.

6. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

We have see nothing yet

21. dancheung77

Posts: 202; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

Sony Ericsson, Sony Walkman, laser disk and power rangers

27. TechNeck

Posts: 657; Member since: Aug 29, 2014

I blame animes for this...

16. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

And Apple phone didn't exist either. I prefer a flip phone over any smart phone. Better battery life screen doesn't crack either

20. dimas

Posts: 3448; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

It's just being practical and feature flip phones are cheaper and more convenient to use if you're only after the basic functions of a phone.

37. lalalaman

Posts: 638; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Tbh I would love to have a flip phone,it's that if it is made like Nokia n93or something, good 3in screen with 13mp camera, with good browsing and some essential apps like WhatsApp,viber,Skype....i have no worries with keypad

3. Finest

Posts: 90; Member since: Aug 16, 2013

Japanese people basically know how to live a life, than to rely their lives to a smartphone sitting all day wasting time streaming facebook instagram twitter etc etc. Im getting fat because of my smartphone back in my time kids were playing outside having fun with their activities, but nowadays kids are all at home with their ipads, phones and stuffs losing the true meaning of childhood. Im glad i lived a life before the era of smartphones and dumb people came.

5. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

Blame the parents

7. Anterv

Posts: 178; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

I agree at this point. Parents are ignoring the fact that their kids are wasting time, and this is unacceptable. Looks like education for parents and kids about what is time wasting is insanely needed.

8. PorkyBurger

Posts: 585; Member since: May 18, 2013

Well I think kids should have some of the responsibilities on their own, not to push everything to parents and then suddenly blame them for ruining their lives. Tbh.

11. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

And that's something parents should teach them, more with their life and less with their words

12. Anterv

Posts: 178; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

That's the point - responsibilities won't fall from the sky, it comes from your parents by teaching you.

14. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

I don't suggest that we have to blame our parents. Most probably they do what they can

10. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

Even kids these days are addicted to smartphones, tablets and social media. Hope in the future kids won't be like this... What is 2+2? -Note 4. What is 3+3? -iPhone 6. Knock knock... -Who's there? i... -i Who? iPad. How do we make friends? -Facebook. What is the meaning of life? -Instagram.

22. cory944

Posts: 9; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

Knock knock... -Who is there? LG G3

24. g2a5b0e unregistered

"Im getting fat because of my smartphone..." I stopped reading there. ***NEWSFLASH*** Your smartphone isn't making you fat. Your laziness is.

30. Mutation.X

Posts: 185; Member since: Feb 09, 2015

Bring back the sexy Ericsson T28

39. JohnZimmerman

Posts: 31; Member since: Sep 17, 2012

Hahaha, they do? You should visit some day. Tokyo will change your perspective.

9. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

They use other devices, such as 3DSs for smartphone type things such as web browsing and music. Odd, but true. So that could also contribute as well. Instead of paying a high price for a smartphone and data, the 3DS is only $200 equivalent, with most of the functions.

13. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Japan get most of fun. The new 3DS,not the XL for example

15. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

I just got the 3DS XL, and it is wonderful. I can see why people want the smaller one, but I am cool with the XL model. Also, in Nintendo's perspective, the smaller one barely sells. And it sucks you can't just import one. Stupid region locking...

18. EC112987

Posts: 1216; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

You can buy the UK version which comes in English lol and just buy the games online

23. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

It's still much easier to go to your local store. And plus the games will be more expensive

34. Phooey506

Posts: 85; Member since: Sep 24, 2014

96 PPI on the new 3DS XL. Lol 96. Even the OGDroid and iPhone 3g had higher ppi. Most $5-25 flip phones exceed 96 PPI as well.

17. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

I will tell you this. With the ebbing of removable batteries, my wife and I have made a deal to stop purchasing smartphones if it becomes impossible to purchase one without the option. Flip phones are in our sight. The battery lifespan is far better due to less charging. Most have removable batteries which we like in case of issues related to a failing or faulty battery. No forking over exuberant money for someone to do what we can do ourselves. John B.

19. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Aging population, old people prefer features phone, enough said

25. PorkyBurger

Posts: 585; Member since: May 18, 2013

Idk, my mom once said that she will never use a smartphone, but now when she tried WP, she was extremely impressed with it and said that she will not go back to feature phones ever again. same went with my dad. I was shocked by results tbh. I barely got them to buy a smartphone for themselves.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless