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Japan Smartphone Shipment Volume Grew 42.1% in 2012, Tablet Shipments Up 91.3%

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Japan's smartphone shipment volumes in 4Q12 increased 29.2% year over year to 8.8 million units, according to an IDC report. The ratio of smartphone shipments to total mobile phone shipments increased to 77.9%.

IDC said that the primary factors for this market expansion were the strong sales of Apple's iPhone 5 after it was launched in September 2012 by auKDDI and SoftBank and the broad user support for Sharp's SH-02E, which features a low power consumption "IGZO" LCD screen.

In terms of smartphone OS, Android smartphones held 57.8% share of the market, outperforming iOS for the second straight quarter. For the full year 2012, the Japan smartphone market recorded 42.1% year-over-year shipment growth to nearly 28.5 million units, thanks to the significant market demand for Android and iOS handsets.

In the 4Q12 Japan tablet market, shipment volumes recorded large positive growth, rising 88.3% year over year to slightly more than 2.0 million units. The primary factors for the strong growth of this market were the rapid penetration of inexpensive tablets (such as Amazon's Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus 7) among personal users, especially during Christmas sales, higher shipping volumes of LTE (4G) tablets, and strong corporate demand for tablets.

In terms of tablet OS shares, Android had the top position in the market for the second consecutive quarter at 48.3%.For the full year 2012, the Japan tablet market recorded 91.3% year-over-year shipment growth to more than 4.6 million units.

"Over the short term, IDC expects that smartphone demand in Japan will maintain its strength, increasing to 30 million units in 2013. Growth, however, will begin to slow in 2014. The tablet market will also see a continuing growth in demand, thanks to the launch of new devices such as the much-awaited iPad mini and further expansion in the inexpensive tablet market. However, cost competition among vendors may become a negative factor for the profit structure in this field," commented Michito Kimura, Senior Market Analyst, PC, Mobile & Client Solution, IDC Japan. "Over the long term, the smartphone market is expected to expand to a shipping volume of more than 37 million units in 2017, while the tablet market is forecast to expand to a shipping volume of 9 million units."

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Tags: Japan