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Samsung's market share in Japan drops as Apple surges

updated 05:15 pm EST, Sun November 24, 2013

Samsung's market share continues to decline in Japan

Samsung may sell the most smartphones in the world overall, but the South Korean tech giant is struggling in Japan even as its chief rival, Apple, achieves greater heights. Sunday brought word from The Korea Herald that Samsung's share in the Japanese smartphone market dropped again last quarter, making for four straight quarterly declines. Last quarter, Samsung moved just one million units in Japan, only about one-fourth the total that Apple sold.

That one million unit figure is especially troubling in light of Samsung's year-ago totals, when the company sold 1.9 million units in Japan. The following quarters saw sales of 1.4 million, then 1.3 million, and now just one million.

Apple's iPhone 5s is beating competing phones from Samsung, like the Galaxy S4. Image via BostInno.
Apple's iPhone 5s is beating competing phones from Samsung, like the Galaxy S4.
Image via BostInno.

Samsung placed fourth overall in the Japanese market. Sony came in second, holding 18.9 percent share with 1.9 million units sold. Sharp edged out Samsung by 100,000 units. Apple, of course, held the top spot, selling 3.8 million units in the quarter for a 38.1 percent share.

Reportedly, Japan's largest carrier, NTT Docomo, is distancing itself from Samsung by not including Samsung devices in its winter promotions. Instead, Docomo is leveraging its recently signed deal with Apple to form the basis for major promotions, with the hope that the appearance of the iPhone on its network will stop subscribers from leaving.

Japan has become the most profitable company that Apple operates in, with sales at $13.5 billion for the fiscal year ending in September. The Japanese consumer market has been drawn to the high build quality of Apple's devices, and analysts expect that Apple's share will only increase over time. Some have predicted that, with the launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c on Docomo, Apple could grow close to 50 percent market share in Japan by next year.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    I wonder if screen size isn't also a factor in this. If there's a significant Japanese bias toward physically smaller phones (which my experience inclines me to think is true), the fact that Samsung's flagships are all immense might be seriously hurting them in the country, where it is a plus in, say, Korea where big screens are popular.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    Japanese loves good stuffs.... especially the original stuffs. Samsung was lucky in the past because DoCoMo didn't carry iPhones. Now they do and so that will be a serious shift from Samsung to Apple down the road.

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-03-08

    I'm sorry, this may start a flame war and it's not my intention, but when you place the 2 phones next to each other, you just see a more solidly designed and built phone in the iPhone 5(S)...the quality is apparent. Now add that Japan is the discriminating shopper of the Pac Rim world, and no doubt to the results.

  1. DCJ001

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 10-28-07

    "Japan has become the most profitable company that Apple operates in"

    "Company" or "country?"

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Also, that photo shows a 5, which is no longer available, not a 5s.

    Forgivable perhaps, but this is a TECH news site, not a daily newspaper.

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