Japan’s Love Affair with iPhone Is Escalating, Apple Poised to Shatter Competition

Analysts from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech show Apple’s impressive numbers in Asia

Data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech for the January-March period indicates that Apple is again very well positioned for growth, especially with new iPhone models on the way. Asia is a key market for the Cupertino giant, according to Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Sunnebo reveals in Kantar’s report that “Apple regained ground in the first quarter of 2014, primarily due to the strong performance of the iPhone 5S, growing its sales share in Europe, Japan and Australia. By contrast, Windows had a tough start to the year as a result of its entry-level Nokia models facing fierce competition from low-end Motorola, LG and Samsung Android smartphones.”

In Japan, the Mac maker is commanding the smartphone market with 42 percent share under carrier NTT DoCoMo, 59 percent under KDDI AU, and as much as 81% through Softbank, one of the leading carriers in the country.

30 percent of Japanese buyers chose iPhone based on design, while 29 percent of smartphone purchases were made based on whether or not the handset had 4G connectivity. 24 percent picked up an iPhone because they regarded it as reliable.

Sunnebo said, “Japan’s love affair with Apple shows no sign of fading. Even though the iPhone has now been available on Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, for a number of months Apple still accounts for more than 40% of sales on the network.”

He also reveals that Apple’s iPad business is also gaining new ground in Japan, mainly thanks to the iPhone.

“The success of the iPhone is also filtering through to the iPad, with almost a quarter of Japanese iPhone owners also owning an iPad. With smartphone penetration in Japan lagging well behind Europe and the US, Japan will remain a key growth market for Apple,” he said.

In China, devices with a screen larger than 5 inches made up 40% of all smartphone sales in March alone. If rumors about a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 turn out to be true, Apple’s future in Asia looks very bright indeed. However, many analysts are reserved regarding the company’s intentions of developing and selling what is referred to as “phablets.”

Sunnebo concluded, saying, “It’s clear that phablets really are changing the way Chinese consumers use smartphones. More than one in five phablet owners now watch mobile TV on a daily basis, half do so at least once a month, and this is without widespread availability of 4G. As 4G infrastructure expands in China, the demand for data is going to be unprecedented, paving the way for carriers to boost revenues significantly through larger data packages.”

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