Apple closed out 2012 as Japan’s top mobile phone market, occupying the number one spot for a twelve-month period for the first time. This is a big deal for the manufacturers of the iPhone, as Japan’s mobile market has notoriously been slower than most to adopt smartphones.
Web-enabled feature phones have continued to be popular – this is why local firms Sharp and Fujitsu, which held a 14 percent market share each, have always been at the top of the pile yearly. This year they share second place as the U.S. company held 16 percent of Japan’s mobile market, which gave it an overall 15 percent share of the year as a whole.
Apple has topped Japan’s mobile market in the past, but it has always been in the wake of their product launches, and then for short periods of time only. A good example of this is the iPhone 4S launch in 2011. Apple’s lead at the top for 2012 is hugely significant as it ends Sharp’s 6-year monopoly at the top of the market.
And it seems that change is coming in another section of the market as foreign brands have accounted for more than 50 percent of the sales during the fourth quarter of 2012. That is another significant “first”, as the research data shows that Chinese handset makers like Huawei saw their “sales jump 3 fold” during the final quarter of the year, putting them in a slightly better position than Japan’s local mobile phone makers.
[via The Next Web]