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Domestic Smart Phone Shipments Decrease for the First Time; Demand Settles, Overshadowed by a "Revival of Garakei (mobile phones with conventional features)"

3, 31. 2015

   Domestic shipments of smart phones decreased by 12.4 percent, or 3.77 million units, in 2014 compared to the previous year. This is the first time that annual domestic shipments fell to negative ground since the spread of the smart phone in 2010.

    Although the smart phone market has been showing tremendous growth, there is a sense that its demand may have settled down.

Apple's "iPhone5" and "iPhone6" Series Overwhelm Competitors

   According to IDC Japan, which specializes in IT research, total domestic shipments of mobile phones with conventional features and smart phone devices were 36.59 million units in 2014, down by 7.7 percent compared to a year earlier.

   Out of these, shipment of smart phone devices stood at 26.54 million units, a 12.4% percent decrease compared to a year earlier. Smartphone devices account for 72.5 percent of the domestic market for mobile phones. The market is seen to have settled down with a sense that people who want such devices have mostly obtained one.

   IDC Japan points out that the poor performance of smart phones equipped with the "Android" OS has been causing continued declines in shipments.

   Michito Kimura, Senior Market Analyst, PC, Mobile & Client Solution at IDC Japan, says, "The popularity of the iPhone in Japan is almost unusual, and there are no other examples in the world where a single company has half the market share. The commencement of the iPhone business by NTT DOCOMO in 2014 has led Softbank and AU to extend their sales efforts aimed at acquiring customers. It may be said that these moves have made it difficult for hit sellers to emerge among Android OS-equipped terminals."

   By breakdown of manufacturers, Apple held top share of the domestic market for smart phone shipments at 58.7 percent, followed by Sony at 14.2 percent, Sharp at 11.4 percent, Samsung at 4.7 percent, and Kyocera at 4.5 percent.

   Apple has also continued to be at the top of the overall market for mobile phone devices for three consecutive years, the effects apparent from the high shares that it has maintained throughout the year for the iPhone5 and the iPhone6 series.

   Mr. Kimura said on future prospects; "During the first quarter (January to March) of 2015, sales have been difficult for devices equipped with the Android OS, which has led to surplus inventory". He believes that overall, "severe market conditions will continue for a while."

   Are decreases in smart phone shipments caused by Garakei (mobile phones with conventional features)?

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