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Japan’s mobile phone market drops 3.5% YoY to 8.3M units in Q4 2023

According to International Data Corporation ’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in 2023Q4, Japan’s shipments of mobile phones totaled 8.3 million units, a decrease of 3.5% compared to the same period last year. Additionally, smartphone shipments reached 8.28 million units, representing a decrease of 2.4% YoY. While all quarters of 2023 saw declines compared to the previous year, 2023Q4 recorded shipments exceeding 8 million units, the only quarter to do so. The demand started to improve in the second half of the year, led by Apple, indicating a diminishing impact of inflation due to the weakening yen and carrier inventory adjustments.

Apple continued to lead the smartphone market with strong demand for its iPhone 15 series. Sharp regained its second position in the market with steady following in the elderly segment for its affordable smartphones. Google had the biggest gain and continued on its strong growth trajectory since 2023Q2.

Google rapidly increased its share in 2023 after its partnership with Docomo earlier in the year. Also in 2023, FCNT filed for civil rehabilitation and was acquired by Lenovo while Kyocera announced plans to selectively retract from the consumer segment.

“Japan has been a market where local vendors have been exceptionally strong. However, amid intensifying competition in the smartphone market, local vendors in Japan are gradually finding it difficult to compete with global vendors in terms of product development and competitiveness, including foldable smartphones and AI smartphones. In 2024, apart from Google which experienced rapid growth, other global vendors such as Lenovo, which acquired FCNT, and Xiaomi, will strengthen their presence in the Japan market. Meanwhile, local vendors will be compelled to reassess their positions in the domestic market,” said Masafumi Inbe, Market Analyst, IDC Japan. IDC

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