In the U.S., Android’s marketshare is on the wane, while the iPhone’s marketshare continues to grow. Japan has become Apple’s fastest-growing region, topping China and other developed countries in Asia. What do the Japanese know about the iPhone that owners of Android smartphones do not?
The Brand Name Game
Japanese are notorious for a long existing love affair with quality brands, and don’t care where they originate (unless it’s technology from Korea).
Apple’s iPhone is a name brand that competes for marketshare leader position with iPhone in the U.S. Why?
It’s all about the brand. Style conscious Japanese smartphone owners are less concerned about product specifications and price than they are becoming a part of the iPhone ecosystem.
The iPhone achieved desired brand status and a large marketshare despite the fact that Japan’s largest cellphone company, DoCoMo, waited until late this year to sell the iPhone.
Japan is the fourth largest smartphone market in the world, trailing only China, U.S., and India, but their smartphone sales mirror the U.S. postpaid market where phones are sold with multiyear contracts.
In many other countries, especially China, India, and elsewhere, cellphones have to be paid for upfront, and the iPhone’s higher price keeps marketshare numbers down. That model is changing, though, as carriers in both countries have announced plans or implemented plans to offer iPhones with a multi-year contract.
Discriminating smartphone buyers fall into two categories. The first is where low price matters the most. The second is where higher quality and capability is worth the difference in price.
In markets throughout the world where barriers to purchasing a quality smartphone are lowered, the iPhone’s marketshare increases. Japanese iPhone customers are well educated, affluent, and discriminating in their purchases– and they know what U.S. iPhone customers know– brand matters. Security matters. Value matters. Usability matters. All that’s required is to reduce barriers to price and the iPhone’s marketshare grows.