Japan smartphone market still booming

Dylan Bushell-Embling
04 Apr 2013

Smartphone shipments in Japan grew 42.1% in 2012, and the market's voracious appetite for the devices is showing no signs of slowing down this year, according to IDC.

The firm estimates that nearly 28.5 million smartphones were sold during the year. Total shipment volumes also increased 29.2% year-on-year to 8.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012 alone.

As of the fourth quarter, smartphones accounted for a whopping 77.9% of all mobile phone shipments, cementing Japan's status as one of the world's most developed smartphone markets.

Android accounted for 57.8% of the market, beating out iOS for the second straight quarter.

IDC Japan senior market analyst Michito Kimura said Japan's smartphone market is expected to continue its strong growth in 2013, with shipments climbing to 30 million for the full year.

“Growth, however, will begin to slow in 2014,” he predicted.

The Japanese tablet market is meanwhile growing even more strongly, albeit from a smaller base. IDC calculates that shipment volumes grew 91.3% in 2012 to over 4.6 million units.

Over the long-term, IDC predicts that Japanese smartphone shipments will grow to over 37 million units for 2017, with tablet volumes reaching 9 million in the same year.

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