The iPhone was the best-selling phone in Japan throughout the whole of the last year, the first time the title has ever been taken from a Japanese firm, according to Counterpoint Research's Country Market Share Report (via The Next Web). The number one slot had been held by local firm Sharp for the previous six years.

japan
Apple grabbed 15% of the market, just ahead of local firms Sharp and Fujitsu, at 14% each. Apple had previously taken the number one slot for single quarters as new product launches hit, seen with the 4S launch in 2011, but has never before held its position for an entire year.

Samsung, LG and Huawei all increased their shares, with non-Japanese companies now owning over half the market for the first time. Japan has always been a difficult market for overseas manufacturers, with non-standard networks and an early lead in sophisticated web-enabled feature phones limiting demand for smartphones. Electronista suggests that the shift is in large part due to a carrier battle as Softbank and KDDI challenged market leader NTT Docomo.

Both saw having the iPhone as a strategic advantage over the island nation's largest carrier, NTT Docomo, and promoted the iPhone heavily. Docomo responded with campaigns that emphasized foreign-made Android phones, the first time it had aggressively marketed foreign brands. As a result, the Japanese market had more than 50 percent of the available share split between foreign-owned companies (primarily Apple, Samsung and LG) for the first time.

Counterpoint Research says that the shift in popularity from advanced feature phones to smartphones is likely to be a permanent one.

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 wave of smartphones has changed the situation now and it looks like the Japanese market is a market that can be transformed after all for better or worse.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

princetanha Avatar
128 months ago
Fujisto and Sharp ? I just now know that they produce smartphones
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shartypants Avatar
128 months ago
From what I heard, in Japan the service providers used to tell the phone manufacturers what features they wanted in a phone (they had power), but then Apple strolls in and totally breaks that up. As a result, they have better phones in Japan now.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CptnJustc Avatar
128 months ago
When I lived in Japan (2001-2003), it was stunning how many light years ahead they seemed in terms of the phones available and adoption of phones with extra features that at the time would have prompted what-do-you-need-that-fors in the States. I went from a Motorola black and white brick whose killer app was listing the last ten calls and their times to a sexy phone with what at the time seemed like a gorgeous color screen, internet connectivity, and a camera (though, granted, the last two were pretty crappy). They seemed so close, but after years they never really went into smartphone territory. Glad Apple could help smash that barrier in Japan as well.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Xgm541 Avatar
128 months ago
Apple is doomed. DOOOOOMED.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro hands snowflakes 1

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 1:55 pm PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2022 is no different. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like the iPhone 13. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
apple watch gold ornaments

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 9:31 am PST by
We're tracking all of the best Apple product discounts for Black Friday this week, and the Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, so you're guaranteed to find solid discounts right now. In this article, you'll discover the best Black Friday sales on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these...
new airpods lineup black friday

Best Black Friday AirPods Deals Still Available

Tuesday November 22, 2022 10:01 am PST by
Although we've been tracking Black Friday deals for a few weeks now, the shopping holiday is officially kicking off this week and we're highlighting the best sales for each of Apple's product lines. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and AirPods Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
ipad holiday bulbs

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:25 pm PST by
Black Friday deals have been in full swing for the better part of a month, and now that the shopping holiday is officially here we're seeing even more solid discounts on Apple devices. We're highlighting the best sales for all of Apple's product lines, and in this article you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner ...
mac imac snowflakes

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 1:07 pm PST by
Our Black Friday coverage continues today with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Although Black Friday is now technically over, many Apple products are still seeing major discounts. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale that's still available. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Blue

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Get Right Now: AirPods, Apple TV, Mac, iPad, and More

Saturday November 19, 2022 8:00 am PST by
Last week was jam-packed with early Black Friday deals, and now that the shopping holiday is right around the corner, we're going back through all of the best sales you might have missed over the past week and updating as prices change and new deals arrive. As with all holiday shopping, there's no guarantee that better prices won't come around later in the season, but if you want to shop early,...
Best Buy November Deals Hero

Best Buy Reveals Black Friday Plans With Sitewide Sales Available Now

Tuesday November 22, 2022 3:49 pm PST by
Following in the footsteps of Target and Walmart, Best Buy this week detailed its plans for the Black Friday shopping holiday and its schedule looks a lot like other retailers. In terms of sales, Best Buy has the expected list of TVs, appliances, video games, computers, streaming devices, and more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a...