The iPhone now has more than 46 percent of Japan’s smartphone market, unseating the previous most-popular smartphone in under six months, according to a report. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS now are the No. 1 and No. 2 smartphones in the country.
The iPhone 3G has 24.6 percent of the market while the iPhone 3GS owns 21.5 percent of the smartphone market, Japan analyst firm Impress said Friday.
Sharp’s W-ZERO3, with its three-inch screen and slide-out QWERTY keyboard, was the leading smartphone in Japan for 2008. However, the smartphone’s marketshare was nearly halved, from 26.8 percent of the market to 14.6 percent.
The iPhone’s easy use and numerous available applications is seen in Japanese usage patterns. More than three-quarters (77.3 percent) of iPhone 3GS owners spend more than one half hour using data services (email, the Web, etc.), the report said.
Another factor in the iPhone dominance in the Japanese market may be the aggressive marketing by carrier Softbank Mobile. Such tactics as nearly round-the-clock TV commercials, print ads and pricing (the latest: a free 16GB iPhone with a two-year commitment) have all made a difference.
The report seems to be a complete reversal of an earlier view that the iPhone was failing in Japan due to a cultural backlash. Japan is now Apple’s leading market for the iPhone outside of the U.S., according to research released Friday. Apple saw a 350 percent increase in iPhone sales in Japan during 2009, AdMob announced.
Apple success in Japan comes as the Cupertino, Calif. firm has mixed results in other Asian countries. The iPhone debuted to a great reception in tech-savvy South Korea. There, the local carrier sold 60,000 iPhones just after the launch of the iconic handset, eventually reaching 15 percent of the 400,000 smartphones sold in the country.
In China, like in Japan, Apple’s iPhone launched with a tepid greeting. The carrier China Unicom sold 5,000 iPhones in the first days recently reported selling 100,000 iPhones since Oct. 30.