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In Japan, Smartphones Surpass Feature Phones among Newly Acquired Devices for First Time Ever

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A survey of over 4,000 Japanese mobile phone subscribers reports that Sharp is country's most popular manufacturer, with a 23.5% market share. Google's Android platform accounted for the majority of smartphone market at 61.4 percent, followed by Apple with 34.2 percent of the market.

"Smartphones surpassed feature phones as the most acquired device type in February 2012, signaling an important shift in Japan's mobile market," said Daizo Nishitani, vice president of comScore Japan.

"The rise in smartphone adoption opens the door to tremendous opportunity for publishers and advertisers to expand their reach and increase engagement with key consumer segments through this channel. Japanese mobile phone users were already highly engaged with their devices, but with the added functionality and higher levels of mobile media consumption we should expect to see significant changes in behavior among the Japanese mobile population in 2012."

Sharp Accounts for 1 in 4 Mobile Devices in Japan

For the three-month average period ending in February, 101.7 million people age 13 and older used mobile devices in Japan (feature phone and smartphone devices). Device manufacturer Sharp ranked as the top OEM with 23.5 percent of Japanese mobile subscribers, followed by Panasonic with 13.8 percent share. Fujitsu captured the #3 ranking in February with 11.8 percent of mobile subscribers, followed by NEC at 9.7 percent and Sony at 7.5 percent to round out the top five.

Apple, which ranked as the 8th largest OEM in Japan with 6.5 percent market share, experienced the strongest gain among device manufacturers increasing 1.6 percentage points since November 2011.

Android Accounts for Majority of Japan's Smartphone Market, Apple Sees Strongest Growth

More than 19.3 million people in Japan owned smartphones during the three months ending in February, up 28 percent versus November. Android's share of the smartphone market reached 61.4 percent, while Apple ranked second with 34.2 percent of the smartphone market (up 1.3 percentage points versus November 2011), followed by Microsoft, which accounted for 3.9 percent in February 2012.

Mobile Content Usage

Analysis of selected activities consumers performed on their mobile phones found that 57.6 million users accessed email on their phone, representing more than half of all mobile phone users. Japanese mobile owners were more likely to use an application (55.4 percent) than a mobile browser (52.4 percent), while 45.4 percent sent a text message to another phone during the month. Nearly 1 in 5 mobile users accessed social networking or blog sites on their phone, while slightly less (18.8 percent) watched TV or video.

Top Mobile OEMs

  Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Nov-11 Feb-12 Point Change
Sharp 24.6% 23.5% -1.1
Panasonic 13.7% 13.8% 0.1
Fujitsu 11.6% 11.8% 0.2
NEC 9.8% 9.7% -0.1
Sony 7.8% 7.5% -0.3

Top Smartphone* Platforms

  Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
Nov-11 Feb-12 Point Change
Android 61.0% 61.4% 0.3
Apple 33.0% 34.2% 1.3
Microsoft 5.7% 3.9% -1.8
Other 0.3% 0.5% 0.2

*Smartphones are defined as those phones that use the Android, Apple, Microsoft, RIM and Symbian platforms.

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Tags: sharp  android  google  apple iphone  panasonic  fujitsu  nec  sony  Japan