According to BusinessWeek, Apple‚Äôs iPhone shipments to Japan more than doubled in the past year, with a total of 2.3 million units sold or roughly 72 percent of the country‚Äôs smartphone market.
The iPhone began selling in Japan in July 2008, and was met with much skepticism. In an article Wired wrote 'Why the Japanese hate the iPhone'; blaming its lack of features, low-quality camera, and unfashionable design.
Yet, three months later, a survey showed that the iPhone was the top selling smartphone in Japan.
The iPhone helped smartphone sales more than doubled while shipments of regular mobile phones shrank in Japan. Smartphone shipments will probably exceed 3 million units this year, while the overall market is forecast to contract for a third year.
‚ÄúLast year was just the beginning of the smartphone competition, which is why Apple did so well,‚Äù said Calvin Huang, analyst at Daiwa Securities Group. ‚ÄúThis year will be much more competitive.‚Äù
Apple‚Äôs biggest competitors in Japan are HTC, with an 11% smartphone market share, and Toshiba with a 6.8% share.
What the iPhone's Japanese success seems to prove is that experience sometimes trumps features; build a phone people want to use and they will buy it.