The iPhone 12 series has led a massive boom in smartphone shipments, particularly 5G models, in Japan.
According to a new report, Japan was the recipient of a 17% boost in smartphone shipments over the past 12 months. There was also a massive 40-fold increase in 5G handset shipments. Of the 5G smartphones, the iPhone 12 series made up almost half.
“MM Research Institute, a Japanese ICT market research and consulting organization, released a survey report on the 18th and pointed out that in 2020 (April 2020 to March 2021), domestic smartphone shipments in Japan increased by 16.9% annually to 32.757 million. Exceeding the 32.58 million in 2017, the annual shipments set a record high.
The iPhone 12 series 4 models launched by Apple in October and November 2020 all support 5G, boosting Japan’s 5G smartphone shipments, which will reach 11.011 million units in 2020. This is a 40-fold increase (3,993%) from the 269,000 units in 2019, and its share of the total smartphone shipments jumped from 1% in 2019 to 33.6%, breaking the 30% barrier.”
This year should set another shipments record, the report continues, with twice the number of 5G units.
Japan is a strong market for iPhone
Japan has proven to be a particularly strong market for the iPhone. Earlier this year, we noted how more than half the smartphones sold in Japan in 2020 were iPhones. What makes that surprising is that, in the early days of the iPhone, Japan seemingly had no time for it. Exhibit A) This 2009 Wired article titled “Why the Japanese Hate the iPhone.”
“What’s wrong with the iPhone, from a Japanese perspective?” the article asked. “Almost everything: the high monthly data plans that go with it, its paucity of features, the low-quality camera, the unfashionable design and the fact that it’s not Japanese.”
A lot has, of course, changed with the iPhone from those early days. Nonetheless, the success of Apple’s smartphone in the market continues to astound.
This year’s iPhone 13 should get even more compelling in Japan as well — at least, for customers who care about 5G. That’s because, according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, it will introduce the ultra-fast 5G mmWave to new markets including Japan, Canada and Europe. Currently Japan, like the rest of the non-U.S. world, gets the slower sub-6GHz 5G that can attain download speeds only up to 900 Mbps.