iPhone 3G Demand Fading In Japan

While for a time it was believed that it would overcome it’s shortcomings in the Japansese market, one analyst is now says that sales may fall very short of the predicted 1 million mark. Despite having enough to go around, its lack of features and high price could cause it to sell just half a million units.

MM Research says that Apple has sold 200,000 iPhones in Japan in the first two months, but demand for the device has fallen steadily since then. Now analysts predict that the iPhone could peak at around 500,000 units this year, well under the 1 million predicted.

“The iPhone is a difficult phone to use for the Japanese market because there are so many features it doesn’t have,” says Eimei Yokota of MM Research. One in particular is the lack of “emoji”, or emoticons used to spice up emails. Takuro Hiraoka with GfK Marketing Services Japan Ltd., says that the real issue is a lack of education on what to do with an iPhone. “Japanese users don’t know what to do with an iPhone,” he said. “Sales could grow if Apple provides specific examples of how it can be used.”

Currently Apple is battling more than 10 domestic handset manufacturers for a piece of Japan’s mobile pie. It’s a pretty big pie, too, amounting to 50 million phones sold a year. Nokia has less than 1% share there, while Sharp leads the way with 25%.

Softbank, the sole carrier for the iPhone 3G in Japan, is still claiming that sales are going as strong as ever. Eimei disagrees.

[via WSJ]

Thanks, Kuma!

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