The iPhone 4S has been out for two weeks in Japan. And sales are riding high, really high.
BCN Rankings has released its well-known figures and they’re quite impressive.
Now, bear in mind that these numbers are to be considered with a disclaimer: the rankings are based on point of sales surveys covering lots of mobile specialty shops and consumer electronics resellers but excluding a very big player: the Apple Stores.
Also note that there are no official numbers from Apple itself or the two carriers who offer the handset, SoftBank and au/KDDI.
Yet, those numbers allow us to witness some trends.
Week 1: the iPhone steals the show
In the first week, the iPhone 4S took the first 6 spots.
1. iPhone 4S 64GB (SoftBank) — 10.4%
2. iPhone 4S 32GB (au/KDDI) — 10.3%
3. iPhone 4S 64GB (au/KDDI) — 9,4%
4. iPhone 4S 32GB (SoftBank) — 9.1%
5. iPhone 4S 16GB (SoftBank) — 8.2%
6. iPhone 4S 16GB (au/KDDI) — 6.3%
7. Samsung Galaxy S II (NTT DoCoMo) — 3.4%
8. Xperia acro (NTT DoCoMo) — 3.3%
9. iPhone 4 16GB (SoftBank) — 2.3%
10. Xperia acro (au/KDDI) — 2.1%
11. iPhone 4 32GB (SoftBank) — 1.7%
BCN did aggregate sales market share of that week, which percentage you see appended above. If we aggregate the 4S-only numbers (the iPhone 4 is not carried by au/KDDI), we’ve got a slightly higher market share for SoftBank at 51.8% —that’s 19.4% for the 64GB, 17% for the 32GB and 15.4% for the 16GB, while au/KDDI has 19.2% for the 64GB, 17.5% for the 32GB and 11.7% for the 16GB.
Again, these numbers are just what they are, trends. The market share is even less relevant for, I repeat it, the Apple Stores are not surveyed, which completely skews numbers when some other phones do not have separate points of sales (the four phones following place #11 are feature phones on NTT DoCoMo, followed by four other Android-powered smartphones all on DoCoMo as well).
Early 2011 sales better than 2010
BCN went further and computed an indicator of the “level of enthusiasm” for the iPhone, by comparing their numbers with historical data from the iPhone 4 in 2010. But, once again, the comparison needs explaining: in 2010, there was only one carrier, SoftBank, while this time, we’ve got two, a big difference. The “enthusiasm” is also blurred in a haze of first-timers that were loyal to au/KDDI (on surplus, did they switch from an Android smartphone for instance or are they smartphone-first-timers?), iPhone-carrier switchers (from SoftBank to au/KDDI), iPhone-upgraders (with a two-year contract on the iPhone 3GS, some didn’t jump for the 4 last year), etc. But still, there seem to have been 2.4 times more sales on the iPhone 4S release day the similar day last year. And if you go through the weekend, a four-day period, this number rises to 5.4x.
Not too shabby. Let’s see if this sustains in the long run, with the influence of stocks hanging in the balance.
Another trend we spot: the 64GB version was the most popular during week #1. Totally expected if you want my two cents. You see, most early adopters rush at that time and look for the higher-end model —the break-down is 36.8% of sales for the 64GB, 36.1% for the 32GB and 27% for the 16GB.
Am I right? Week #2 seems to prove my point.
Week 2: au/KDDI rises
1. iPhone 4S 32GB (au/KDDI)
2. iPhone 4S 16GB (au/KDDI)
3. iPhone 4S 16GB (SoftBank)
4. iPhone 4S 64GB (au/KDDI)
5. iPhone 4S 32GB (SoftBank)
6. iPhone 4S 64GB (SoftBank)
7. iPhone 4 32GB (SoftBank)
8. Samsung Galaxy S II (NTT DoCoMo)
9. Xperia acro (NTT DoCoMo)
10. iPhone 4 16GB (SoftBank)
BCN didn’t rank the market shares this time around.
Two weeks is really limited to be jumping to any conclusion. The higher-priced model took the aforementioned expected hit, but it could also be slightly influenced by stocks hovering low forcing a choice towards the 32 or 16GB versions (see this thread on our forums about current availabilities and note that Apple Stores traditionally get priority, which could explain that some shops have empty shelves).
More interestingly, au/KDDI seems to dominate the sales a bit more. It could be that early adopters who also had the possibility to upgrade from their SoftBank contract did, while the novelty effect is stronger for au/KDDI’s subscribers.
All this is pure speculation from my part. These numbers only tell a partial truth —sorry to have bored you by repeating this to death.
One thing is for sure though: my estimate of 7.5m iPhones sold in Japan will have to be revised soon.