Apple’s iPhone in Japan: latest consumer research results

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If Apple's iPhone went on sale in Japan, might you like to buy it? graph of japanese statistics

Two days, two mentions of Apple’s iPhone! This time, however, rather than trying to shoehorn it into an existing survey, japan.internet.com reported on a survey by conducted by JR Tokai Express Research into Apple’s iPhone.

Demographics

Between the 9th and 11th of January 2008 330 members of the JR Tokai Express Research online monitor group employed in either the public or private sector completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 80.0% of the sample was male, 10.9% in their twenties, 36.4% in their thirties, 36.1% in their forties, 13.9% in their fifties, and 2.7% in their sixties.

This is also well-timed with regards a report on Forbes about the iPhone (thanks Gen!) which takes the rather safe line that the latest NTT DoCoMo 905i series does everything and more already, and that the price tag is rather prohibitive. Looking at Q1SQ2 below, it seems that almost no-one is willing to pay the price it was initially offered at in the USA, but well over a quarter of the potential customers are willing to pay around the current market value. This also ignores the fact that the previously-mentioned 905i series is selling, and selling well, at over 50,000 yen on a standard pricing plan, and of course the up-front cost is just a fraction of the total cost of ownership. To compare, in the USA the cheapest unlimited data plan costs $59.99 with 450 free minutes, 5,000 evening and weekend minutes, and 45 cents per minute after that, whereas in Japan the cheapest 905i plan is 2,000 yen (excluding tax) for 25 free minutes (300 free minutes would be 8,000 yen!), 400 yen for answering machine and call waiting service, 200 yen for iMode walled-garden functionality, 5,700 yen pake-houdai full unlimited data packet plan for full browser, and then 40 yen per minute afterwards. This makes a USA iPhone cost around $1,839 for two years including $399 for the handset, or about 200,000 yen, versus a minimum 249,200 yen for a 905i series phone including the 50,000 yen handset cost, not forgetting that a Japanese tend to upgrade more frequently than once every two years, making a basic 905i about 25% more expensive than an iPhone. If one compares the package with a similar amount of minutes, the price becomes 393,200 yen, almost double the price! To be generous to NTT DoCoMo, after a year you may become eligible for a 35% discount, rising to 50% after 10 years, so a worst-case scenario is closer to 333,140 yen, only 66% more expensive, and a best-case of 221,600 yen, still 10% more expensive than an iPhone. Similar costs apply to the other main carriers, SoftBank and au.

If you want to read more on the iPhone in Japan, please view my article on why Apple’s iPhone will succeed in Japan, or catch up on all past articles on the iPhone.
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External memory, one seg TV and infra-red key mobile features in Japan

About what resolution of camera do you need on a mobile phone? graph of japanese statisticsWith the recent news that KDDI was tops for net new customers in 2007, it is instructive to look at a recent report on japan.internet.com regarding the 35th regular mobile phone upgrade needs survey conducted by goo Research once a month, every month since April 2004.

Demographics

Over the 20th and 21st of December 2007 exactly 1,000 members of the goo Research monitor group who carried a mobile phone (the reported text says just internet users, but everyone in the survey carried a mobile phone, so the sample must have been pre-screened for mobile phone ownership) completed a private online questionnaire. 50.8% of the sample was male, 1.2% in their teens, 15.8% in their twenties, 37.4% in their thirties, 28.8% in their forties, and 16.8% aged fifty or older.

With the hype for Apple’s iPhone release in Japan beginning to build up, it is interesting to note that from the list of desired features in Q2, the following are not present on the US or Europe models of that device: external memory card, one seg digital terrestrial or analogue television, infra-red, FeliCa (Osaifu Keitai, electronic wallet), water resistance, GPS, FM, AM or digital radio, document viewer, skinning, and an electronic compass. Present are merely music playback, full browser, Bluetooth, and wireless LAN. Of course, one can argue that the questions were biased towards Japanese phones, but Apple will have to face the same issue of customer bias when they try to sell the iPhone in Japan. However, in Q4 people seem to hold the screen display as key, an area where the iPhone is strong.
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Accessing URLs in advertisements from mobile phones

Do you find desired information through mobile search? graph of japanese statisticsAnyone who has been in Japan (or has been reading this blog) for any length of time will be aware of how often QR Codes, these square 2D bar codes, appear in magazine advertisements and promotional flyers. However, one aspect that I haven’t seen investigated up until now has been what other methods do people use to access these URLs. To rectify this, I present a translation of a report from japan.internet.com on a survey conducted by Cross Marketing Inc into mobile search.

Demographics

Over the 19th and 20th of December 2007 300 mobile phone users from the Cross Marketing monitor group completed a private online questionnaire. Exactly 50% of the sample was male, and exactly 20% were in their teens, 20% in their twenties, 20% in their thirties, 20% in their forties, and 20% in their fifties.

Note that in Q1 the number sending an empty email seems perhaps rather high. There could be two explanations for this; first, in-train advertisements do not, on the whole, feature QR codes, perhaps for reason of it being embarrassing to take a photo with the accompanying sound; second, sometimes QR codes encode an email address rather than a URL, so in these cases some of the respondents described the final action.
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One in three elementary school kids have their own mobile phone

At what age did you first start carrying a mobile phone? graph of japanese statisticsPerhaps this Christmas many children in both Japan and the rest of the world found a mobile phone in their stockings. To see how elementary school-aged children view their phones, goo Research released on Christmas day the results of a survey of users of Kids goo (goo’s child-targeted portal) on children’s use of mobile phones.

Demographics

Between the 9th and 26th of November 2007 1,100 elementary school-aged users of the Kids goo portal completed a public survey available through the web site. 60.0% were girls, 3.7% in first year of elementary school, 4.8% in second year of elementary school, 7.7% in third year of elementary school, 20.0% in fourth year of elementary school, 28.9% in fifth year of elementary school, and 34.9% in sixth year of elementary school.

In Q6, it’s interesting to see the differences between the sexes; boys have significantly less contact with friends through mobile phones. The reasons for this would be fascinating to investigate further; is it that girls are more sociable with their friends, or do boys prefer to meet in person, or is there another driving force behind the differences?

In Q7 I’m really surprised that 45% of the mobile phone using children have basically no parent-enforced usage rules. I would hope that the parent has set up limits with the service provider such as blocking potentially harmful sites or even turning off internet access altogether, and other limits such as not allowing them to make any payments for site access or content download.
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Japanese even bigger mobile phone addicts this year!

How has your voice call volume changed this year? graph of japanese statisticsFollowing on in a way from the recent survey on changes in internet services, this time japan.internet.com reported on a survey conducted by Cross Marketing Inc into mobile phone usage in 2007.

Demographics

Over the 12th and 13th of December 2007 300 mobile phone-using members of the Cross Marketing monitor group successfully completed a private internet-based questionnaire. The sample was split 50:50 male and female, and 20.0% in their teens, 20.0% in their twenties, 20.0% in their thirties, 20.0% in their forties, and 20.0% in their fifties.

My number of emails is similar, although packet volume has increased due to getting a Deco-Mail (HTML graphic mail) compatible phone! Internet usage is slightly down, as the higher-end phone means I tend to get more graphic-heavy pages pushed at me. Voice calling is as non-existent as ever, despite a talking dog trying to persuade me otherwise! What about you lot?

How has your voice call volume changed this year?

View Results

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Mobile email address portability wanted in Japan

Would you like to use mobile email address portability? graph of japanese statisticsHaving looked recently at the mobile market situation after one year of mobile number portability, here we look at the logical extension to this service in a report published by japan.internet.com on a survey conducted by JR Tokai Express Research Inc into PC and mobile phone email.

Demographics

On the 13th of November 2007 331 members of JR Tokai Express Research’s online monitor group employed in either the public or private sector (JR Tokai Express Research seems to have recently given up on the other demographics) successfully completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 83.1% were male, 8.8% in their twenties, 42.0% in their thirties, 36.6% in their forties, 10.6% in their fifties, and 2.1% in their sixties.

Most internet service providers offer mail forwarding services, but if you change providers you need to keep paying the old provider a small fee to cover the old address. However, long ago I moved my main private address to one provided by PoBox.com. For a small fee, about $50 every three years I think, they maintain an address that I can forward whereever I want. However, this won’t work for mobile phone email. However, looking at the results for Q1SQ1, it looks like I am the only person willing to pay!
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Another flimsy excuse to try to sell you cell phone straps

How many straps do you have attached to your cell phone? graph of japanese statisticsI thought this suvey might have been better with a title like “Japanese cell phone strap usage”, but in the interests of truth in advertising, the headline you see gets straight to the point of this article! japan.internet reported on a recent survey conducted by goo Research into not buying cute cell phone straps from Japan but actually just mobile phone straps.

Demographics

Between the 2nd and 5th of November 2007 1,007 members of goo Research’s online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 52.9% were male, 18.1% in their teens, 20.2% in their twenties, 17.1% in their thirties, 17.0% in their forties, 16.9% in their fifties, and 10.8% aged sixty or older.

My own phone features straps featuring Monokuro Boo cubic pigs, a regional comedian, Hello Kitty (of course!), Miffy, Totoro, and a teddy bear. Really, I’m not making this up just to get you to buy cute cell phone straps from Japan.

Also note that the iPhone doesn’t have a eyelet to allow you to attach kawaii Japanese mobile phone straps to it, a mistake I think they must rectify to make it a success in Japan.

In the interests of disclosure, I ought to point out that this article may contain affiliate links, not that you couldn’t have guessed based on all the links trying to sell kawaii cell phone straps from Japan.
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Mobile manga: comics on cell phones

Do you want to read comics, manga on mobile phones? graph of japanese statisticsHere’s perhaps a first for all the surveys I’ve translated over the two years or so the site’s been running; a survey not specifically concerned with an adult topic but it actually has data on adult issues rather than leaving the items to fall under the “other” catchall. This event occured in a survey conducted by MyVoice into mobile manga (comics).

Demographics

Over the first five days of October 2007 17,110 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 54% of the sample was female, 2% in their teens, 16% in their twenties, 40% in their thirties, 27% in their forties, and 15% in their fifties.

Q3 is the interesting answer! I’d love to see a more detailed by sex breakdown, especially to see who is reading the BL comics. I wonder what percentage is feamle, as my wife has a few manga that may fall into that category, but they are written and drawn by women and the characters seem very Takarazuka-esque, but then it becomes GL; indeed, is there such a category?
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QR Code usage in Japan

Do you know about colour QR codes? graph of japanese statisticsA constantly popular destination for Google searches is a survey from two years ago on QR Codes, the rather popular 2D square barcodes that appear all over the place and have been supported by almost every camera-equipped mobile phone for the last few years. To find out how usage patterns are today, let’s look at a recent survey from MyVoice into mobile phone QR Codes.

Demographics

Over the first five days of October 2007 17.091 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 54% of the sample was female, 2% in their teens, 16% in their twenties, 40% in their thirties, 27% in their forties, and 15% in their fifties.

The results here might be worth cross-referencing against last month’s survey, also from MyVoice, on mobile phone cameras.

Most of the QR codes I scan are from print advertisements, usually in the magazine that comes along with our mobile phone bill every month, and are shortcuts to web pages offering free downloads of various stuff. I do find them very convenient, but I’ve never seem a colour QR code bar in one article I read about them. Whether or not my phone can decode them, I do not know, although I suspect the answer is no.
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Very few have used MNP to change mobile carrier

Do you plan to use Mobile Number Portability to change mobile phone carrier? graph of japanese statisticsWith it being just about one full year since MNP, Mobile Number Portability, was introduced to Japan, japan.internet.com reported on goo Research’s 34th regular mobile phone upgrade needs survey, focusing on this MNP issue.

Demographics

Over the 15th and 16th of October 2007 exactly 1,000 mobile phone-using members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 54.5% of the sample was female, 1.8% in their teens, 19.3% in their twenties, 40.6% in their thirties, 24.2% in their forties, and 14.1% aged fifty or older.

Looking at the data from last year just before MNP was made available, around 18% said they would be interested in taking advantage of MNP, but Q2 shows that after a year less than 4% have actually done so. A similar question that may have been interesting to hear the answers to (or it may indeed have been asked, but not reported on) would be how many have changed provider but not used MNP.
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