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Japan has seen a decline in mobile phone shipments in the first quarter of 2023, but it is not enough to affect Apple’s dominance in the country’s smartphone market. According to a report from IDC, the company remains on top of the competition, with a 53.8% share in Japan’s overall mobile phone market.

According to the report, conventional mobile phones and smartphone shipments in Japan dropped by 23.6% year-on-year to 7.75 million units. For smartphone shipments, there was a 23.7% year-on-year decrease, translating to 7.59 million units. More specifically, iOS phone shipments dropped 13.1% year-on-year to 4.17 million units, while Android fell 33.6% year-on-year to 3.42 million units.

On a positive note, despite these figure drops, Apple remains Japan’s top domestic mobile phone vendor, with a 53.8% market share. The brand is followed by Sharp (12.9%), FCNT (8.1%), Kyocera (7.5%), and Samsung (5.9%). Sony, unfortunately, fell out of the list. Meanwhile, in the domestic smartphone market shipment category, Apple dominated at 55%.

The report reflects the current Stat Counter data, with Apple having a 69.58% share in Japan’s mobile vendor market. On the other hand, Google, which recently shamed iPhone 14 in its latest Pixel video ad, currently only has a 2.56% share.

IDC Japan’s report also shares an interesting trend among iPhone buyers, saying Japanese customers prefer inexpensive older models with lower storage capacity. This is the direct opposite of its counterpart markets in the West, wherein 256GB models and Apple’s current flagship models are the top picks. The report adds that the 64GB model made up 80% of the shipment of iOS phones in the said timeframe, while Japanese buyers reportedly had a stronger preference for iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and third-generation iPhone SE over the newer iPhone 14 line.

The addition of iPhone 11 to the list is unsurprising. In an April 2023 Wave7 Research report shared by JPMorgan Chase, the iPhone 11 series has reportedly gained popularity in the US despite Apple continuously offering newer models. The report describes the line as “central to prepaid Apple sales.”

While IDC’s report sounds like good news for Apple, its market supremacy is attracting the attention of the Japanese government. To recall, a Japanese government panel recently drafted regulations to push Apple to allow app sideloading in its operating systems. Google is part of the plan, but Apple is expected to feel the bigger pressure in this matter since it is much more strict in its app sideloading policies. However, the Cupertino giant’s argument about observing the policy seems to be gradually eroding, with customers questioning its essence as fake apps continue to surface in its App Store. Fortunately, the company appears to be already exploring app sideloading capability in iOS. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, said the company was already considering it after talks with the EU, which is also pushing it to allow app sideloading in its system.


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