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Smartphones, tablets helped Japan mobile device market grow 25.6% in Q3-IDC
TT Correspondent |  |  26 Dec 2012

In the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12), the Japan mobile device market, including PCs, smartphones, tablets, mobile cards, and personal routers, grew 25.6%, shipping 13.56 million units compared with the 10.8 million units shipped during the same period in 2011, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Japan Quarterly Mobile Device Tracker.

Shipments in 4Q12 are expected to reach 14.95 million units, representing healthy growth of 20.9% year over year, led by strong demand for both smartphones and media tablets.

From a vendor perspective, Fujitsu captured the largest market share and gained the number 1 spot for the first time in 3Q12 on shipments of 2.74 million smartphones and PCs domestically. Apple, which has maintained a good reputation with strong branding, dropped down to the number 2 position despite shipping 2.54 million units in the quarter. On the basis of strong Xperia sales, SONY found its way into a top 3 ranking, ahead of Sharp and PC giant NEC Lenovo group.

In Japan's smartphone market, shipments reached 7.97 million units in 3Q12 for strong year-over-year growth of 50.2% and accounting for 58.8% of total mobile device shipments domestically. The outstanding market results were driven by stronger replacement demand from advanced users as well as new purchases by more average phone users. In addition, the launch of the iPhone 5 at the end of September was another factor boosting smartphone unit shipments. From a smartphone OS-based perspective, Android remained dominant as its share went up to 74.9%, well ahead of its rival iOS.

Like the smartphone market, the media tablet market showed much better and brighter results in 3Q12 with triple-digit growth of 106.8% compared with the previous year. The reason for this growth is that some mobile operators had a strong push for the shipment of Long Term Evolution (LTE)-based tablets to extend the market size, offering better new product lineups and more sales incentives for users, particularly those categorized as "beginners". From a domestic OS standpoint, Android tablet took a 46.4% share of the market and gained the top position for the first time since 2010, outpacing iOS, which had been dominant the previous years on both a unit share and revenue basis.

Looking forward, IDC sees the following prospects for the smartphone and media tablet markets in Japan. In the short term, both markets will grow constantly with a healthy double-digit growth, particularly in the media tablet market. Moreover, attractive new products, such as the smaller and lighter iPad mini, could be a driving force to further expand demand.

In IDC's 2014-2016 forecast, the Japan smartphone market is expected to reach to 38.06 million units in 2016, while the media tablet market will surge to 7.8 million units in 2016 from about 4.0 million at present.

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26 Dec 2012(IST)  
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