Apple to near 50% market share in Japan in 2014

Apple has seen a large boost in adoption in Japan over the last couple years, and as the trend holds, it is expected the company will near 50-percent market share in the nation some time next year. Current estimates have iPhone sales more than doubling over 2012's sales, and growth for the company has officially eclipsed that of Greater China and other areas, both domestic and abroad.

Apple largely has the iPhone to thank for the rapid growth, with the smartphone simultaneously appealing to a cultural-centric focus on the brand name in conjunction with contract subsidies that make the barrier for entry low. Last year, Apple sold between 5 and 6 million iPhones in Japan, and Cowen & Co. Managing Director Timothy Arcuri has told the Wall Street Journal that this number is likely to more than double in 2013.

Of course, it helps that Samsung — Apple's biggest competitor — has little presence in Japan, where it is the fourth smartphone manufacturer behind Sony, Sharp, and, of course, Apple. Such is due to Samsung being a Korean company, and thus a consumer bias influencing purchases that, in the end, work in Apple's favor. As the WSJ points out, both Panasonic and NEC dropping the smartphone ball in Japan are essentially icing on the cake for Apple.

Overall, this marks a 27-percent increase in Japanese sales for the latest fiscal year, with Apple hitting $13.5 billion. By comparison, Apple's growth in China was less than half this at 12.8-percent. Japan stands as Apple's most profitable market, with the company having operating profit margins in the nation that are more than 15-percent higher than across the rest of the globe. The only downside for Apple at the moment is weak yen, with sales taking a hit due to an unfavorable conversion rate from yen to the US dollar.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal