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Thanks to BCN, a group that tracks consumer electronics sales from point of sales (with some exceptions), we have a better picture on how the iPhone fared in Japan this past launch weekend.

Weekly phone sales ranking

The weekly rankings are for the Sept 16 to 22 period, overshooting the launch period per se. As I had predicted1, the iPhone is dominating the charts.

There’s no differentiation for color, nor sales numbers. As expected however, the sales skewed massively towards the 5s2.

  1. iPhone 5s 32GB (SoftBank)
  2. iPhone 5s 64 GB (SoftBank)
  3. iPhone 5 16GB (au/KDDI)
  4. iPhone 5s 32GB (au/KDDI)
  5. iPhone 5 16GB (SoftBank)
  6. iPhone 5s 64GB (DOCOMO)
  7. iPhone 5s 32GB (DOCOMO)
  8. iPhone 5s 16GB (SoftBank)
  9. iPhone 5s 64GB (au/KDDI)
  10. Samsung Galaxy S4
  11. Kyocera Gratina KYY06
  12. Sony Xperia A
  13. iPhone 5s 16GB (DOCOMO)
  14. iPhone 5s 16GB (au/KDDI)
  15. iPhone 5c 16GB (SoftBank)
  16. iPhone 5 32GB (SoftBank)
  17. iPhone 5c 32GB (DOCOMO)
  18. Panasonic P-01 E
  19. iPhone 5c 16GB (au/KDDI)
  20. iPhone 5 32GB (au/KDDI)

Further down, the iPhone 5c ranks 25th for the 32GB on SoftBank, 28th for the same storage on au/KDDI and 30th on DOCOMO but for the 16GB version.

70% of iPhones

If you include the 5, the iPhone had a market share of 66.9% of all the sales last week. 77.1% if you narrow it down to the smartphone category.

The iPhone 5s 32GB by SoftBank took 7.5% of the market during the week, the 64GB model 7.4%. Impressive as they only appeared for part of the week covered.

The relatively strong performance of the iPhone 5 was certainly thanks to a last effort by the carriers to discount it and get rid of the stock.

Sales performance compared

BCN narrowed the findings down to the three days (September 20-22) and found that the 5s/5c sales were performing almost 1.5 better than the iPhone 5 during launch in 2012.

The iPhone 5 is the best-selling iPhone in Japan to date, it outsold the 4s by a ratio of roughly 1.6.

Below a visualization with this benchmark in mind.

It’s quite striking, isn’t it? Within the latest generation, 83.2% iPhone 5s were sold in Japan versus 16.8% of 5c , a number very close to the Localytics findings of a outselling ratio of 5 in favor of the iPhone 5s.

Carrier distribution

As you can remark on the rankings above, SoftBank seems to be well positioned in the race for the iPhone. I remarked on Sunday that it’s playing the card of being the carrier who knows the handset most3 in its marketing. It’s too early to say that this strategy worked, although one can think that it rings well to a certain audience.

A most probable explanation is that the launch weekend is frontloaded with early adopters: a good part of those presumably already are on SoftBank and either are transitioning their contract or simply won’t bother to switch (number portability exists in Japan, but they might not want to wait and get the iPhone right off the door). The fact that the 64 and 32GB versions are the most successful—on all three networks—also hints at an early adopter type of crowd.

SoftBank was responsible for 44.7% of the weekend iPhone 5s/c sales, au/KDDI for 27.5% and DOCOMO for 27.8%.

When you break it down between the two models, SoftBank gets an even higher share of the market for the 5s, 45.9%, seemingly proving that the early adopters did go where they are used to.

The 5c is more evenly distributed between the three.

The 5c will come into play at a later cycle, it will particularly be interesting to see how the carriers strategize the on-boarding of first time iPhone buyers towards the 5c (if they do it at all). I expect DOCOMO to play this card a bit more heavily than its counterparts.

It is however too early to read too much in those numbers, whether about the success of the 5c or the success of any carrier over another.

With the iPhone poised to lead the mobile phone sales in the forthcoming weeks, there will be a lot more to churn.


  1. it doesn’t require to be a genius to do so 

  2. as I mentioned on my last post, the 5c is not for the same audience and will rise later 

  3. it was the first to carry it in 2008, au/KDDI only started in 2011 and DOCOMO is the newcomer today 

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