Apple and Samsung are neck and neck when it comes to U.S. smartphone market. In Japan, which represents roughly 5% of the global smartphone market, however, the iPhone is significantly beating Samsung’s range of Android handsets. Apple, in fact, has a more than 20% lead over Samsung in Japan – significantly higher than its current 5% lead over Samsung in America.
Recent figures from the NPD Group on the U.S. smartphone market show that Apple and Samsung are on relatively similar footing. For the first quarter of 2012, Apple owned 29% of the U.S. market while Samsung handsets accounted for 24% of U.S. smartphones. Those numbers included year over year growth for both companies.
During the same period, a report on the Japanese smartphone market from the MM Research Institute showed a rather different story. Although Apple accounts for roughly the same share of Japan’s market as it does for the U.S. market (30%), Samsung accounts for just 8.3% – a significant difference. Samsung not only trailed Apple but also domestic manufacturers Sharp, Fujitsu and Sony.
The difference is striking and may reflect a preference against Samsung products as much as a preference for Apple devices and iOS. Apple has been a generally well accepted brand in the Japanese market and iPhone sales have dramatically increased in the country over the past year as Apple added additional Japanese carriers as iPhone partners.
Another interesting point in the report is that 57% of mobile phone users in Japan own a smartphone – slightly above the 50.4% share of American mobile phone owners.