May 30 2014, 10:16am CDT | by Forbes
BCN tracks smartphone sales in Japan and its data shows (if I’m reading the press release correctly since it is not all translated from Japanese) that iPhone 5s sales decreased from 3.9 million in March to .57 million in April or down 85%. The 5c also had a significant 65% month to month decline from .43 million to .15 million in April.
It does appear that iPhone March sales in Japan were positively affected by the pending 5% to 8% sales tax increase on April 1. Total iPhone sales were 1.8 million in both January and February and fell to 0.7 million in April, down 61% from the first two months of the year.
For the March quarter BCN estimates that there were 8 million iPhones sold in Japan. That translates to Japan accounting for 18.3% of total iPhone unit sales (8 million of the 43.7 million total) vs. its total revenue contribution of 8.7%. The difference isn’t too surprising since NTT DoCoMo started selling the iPhone with the 5c and 5s and therefore skewed the comparisons.
iPhones could continue to show low sales in May
While I only have one week of data for the week of May 19 to 25 the best showing for an iPhone was 8th place with the 5s 16 GB model sold by KDDI (Au) which had been in 4th place the week before. The same model at Softbank fell from 3rd to 9th position week to week. The top two selling smartphones for the week were Sony Xperias and they also held the 5th and 6th positions.
While Apple understands the dynamics of its various markets well and I’m sure took the sales pull ahead created by the sales tax change into account when developing its guidance such a significant decline bears watching during the quarter.
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