More good news for Android lovers - which automatically means bad news if you are an Apple lover...just kidding - according to a study done by market research group BCN, Taiwan's Asus sold more tablets the first six months in Japan than Apple did. With sales rising 8-percent from a year ago, Asus was able to capture a market share of 38.9-percent that bested Apple's 36.4-percent. The BCN survey includes sales figures from 22 mass merchandisers and tracks 117 leading digital electronics products.
Pricing and selection had a lot to do with Asus's surge in sales - one of their many hot devices is the Nexus 7 tablet that was developed with Google's guidance and specifications. Asus also makes tablets that are running Microsoft Windows and they seemed to garner a lot of interest in Japan as well. However, pricing has a lot to do with Asus's success - for Asus, the average-selling price for a 7-inch tablet is 20,000 yen or about $195, which is considerably cheaper than the 40,000 yen that Apple commands. Asus also develops many products in-house to attract the customers looking for the best deal, such as their MeMO Pad, with pricing under 20,000 yen.
Sales of most digital electronics rose during the first six months - people were eagerly buying devices before their new consumption tax went into effect in April, however, the big drop off in sales that was anticipated, never really occurred. Japan saw a huge 20-percent gain in tablet sales over last year during the same period and there was even a growth in tablet sales during the April - June period after the new tax was in effect.
Smartphone and notebook sales were rather slow - notebooks were up 15.8-percent on the year, but declined a full 7.1-percent after the tax went into effect. Some of the decline was the reluctance of customers to replace their tablets running Windows XP. Apple did grab a better than 50-percent of the smartphone market, even though smartphone sales fell 30-percent in the April-June period when the new tax went into effect. It will be interesting to see just how this new consumption tax will affect the rest of this year for sales in the digital electronics market in Japan. We will be sure to keep our eye on the situation, as it seems strange that an expensive smartphone by Apple would garner over 50-percent of sales, especially with a new tax in effect.