Slow, Steady Smartphone User Growth in Japan - eMarketer

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Slow, Steady Smartphone User Growth in Japan

Smartphone user market share continues to grow, although the pace of that growth is diminishing

June 10, 2016

From April 2014 to April 2016, the share of mobile phone users in Japan who have a smartphone has climbed from 56.5% to 64.9%. The growth, though it continues, has slowed over the past year.

Mobile Phone User Share in Japan, Smartphone vs. Feature Phone, April 2014-April 2016 (% of respondents)

That’s according to polling from Mobile Marketing Data Lab, which has asked mobile phone users ages 15 and older about the primary mobile device they used. But eMarketer estimates a slightly lower share for smartphones among all individuals, including children.

eMarketer estimates that at the end of 2014 there were 46.2 million smartphone users in Japan, or 44% of all mobile phone users. Those figures climbed to 51.8 million users in 2015, for nearly half of the total share.

In 2016, eMarketer predicts a total of 55.8 million smartphone users, who will make up more than half of total mobile share for the first time, at 52.4%. By 2020, smartphone users will make up 60% of total mobile phone users, at 64.2 million.

Mobile Phone* and Smartphone** Users in Japan, 2014-2020

Looking around the region, Japan’s smartphone uptake is on the slow side. Japan’s neighbor, China, for example, has seen rocketing growth in smartphone user share.

eMarketer estimates that 55.3% of mobile phone users in China will use a smartphone this year, for example, and the gap with Japan is only expected to grow. In 2020, seven in 10 mobile users in China will have a smartphone.

So while smartphone share is growing in Japan, don’t expect the same rapid market takeover seen elsewhere in the region and around the world.

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