Research firm comScore Japan KK released figures today that say that one out of every five mobile users in Japan now owns a smartphone. And what’s more, they claim that among newly acquired mobile devices, smartphones have surpassed feature phones for the first time ever, comScore says. The company’s vice president, Daizo Nishitani, explains:
Smartphones surpassed feature phones as the most acquired device type in February 2012, signaling an important shift in Japan’s mobile market… 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.
It should be noted that Serkan Toto cited a GFK report on the same kind of shift one year ago, so it’s hard to pin down exactly when and to what extent this shift is happening. But personally, I’m mostly interested in the overall breakdown of Japan’s mobile users (as opposed to the breakdown of ‘newly acquired’ handsets), in which comScore says that there are 19.3 million smartphone owners out of a total of 101.7 million (see chart below ). That's still very heavily tilted in favor of feature phones.
comScore also noted the breakdown by brand and operating system of 4,000 mobile smartphone subscribers in Japan. But here I’d rather refer you to ICD Japan’s data which represents the quarterly amount of units shipped, current up until Q4 2011.
I should note that among the smartphone users in the chart there are bound to be some feature phone users as well, as many users in Japan have multiple phones. A recent survey by D2C of 3,095 PC users resulted in a similar breakdown, but also accounted for respondents who own both smartphones and feature phones. ↩