Apple Inc (AAPL)’s Japan Tablet Sales: A Precursor of Things to Come?

Page 1 of 2

With the much-ballyhooed decline in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares lately, everyone has an opinion of what’s going on in Cupertino. Is the ghost of Steve Jobs less than enamored with new CEO Tim Cook? Maybe it’s something closer to reality, like recent margin pressures, or increased competition across Apple’s entire lineup?

The fact is, Apple’s problems aren’t the result of some other-worldly interference — the explanation is much simpler than that. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has tied its cart to the iPhone horse, and those market dynamics have changed drastically this past year, and aren’t going to stop changing anytime soon. With too little revenue — and even less profit — coming from non-iPhone sales, Apple’s found itself in a precarious position: Diversifying revenue opportunities, without cannibalizing existing sales.

The word from Japan
iOS Family, Apple Inc. (AAPL)Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Press Info

According to a recent study , the words most often used in Japanese electronics stores in December were: ‘I’ll take a Nexus 7, please.” Research firm BNC conducted an electronics store calling campaign throughout Japan to gauge tablet sales at 2,400 retail outlets during the busy December shopping season. The results were surprising and, for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) fans, a possible precursor of things to come.

For the first time since May 2010, when Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) began selling iPads in Japan, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)‘s Nexus 7 tablet alternative has taken over the top spot in the market. The Nexus commanded 44.4% of Japanese tablet sales in December, while Apple’s piece of the pie dropped to 40.1%. There are two primary reasons for the change at the top in Japan: number one, price . The Nexus retails for about $200 in Japan, compared to $300 for the iPad Mini, and $500 for an iPad. Price is a concern for Apple that’s going to manifest itself in the smartphone market, too.

Reason number two is the release of Apple’s iPad Mini toward the end of last year, which caused some inventory problems, and may also have cannibalized sales of previous iPad versions, skewing the survey’s final results. We’ll need to wait and see what impact not having readily available iPads in stock had on December tablet sales, but the message is clear; in Japan, at least, consumers are ready and willing to explore alternatives to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), particularly when price is part of the equation.

Takeaways for Apple
Inventory problems played a part in Apple’s drop from the top in the Japanese tablet market, but it’s the price difference between iPads and Nexus that made all the difference, and that should be an eye-opener for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) can also use Google’s ascension in Japan as a learning experience. Microsoft’s foray into tablets — its Surface device — goes head-to-head with Apple’s iPad, and shares one, indisputable flaw: cost.

With a starting price of $499 for Surface, Microsoft, just as with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), assumes it can get consumers to spend two or three times as much than a lower-end Google, or Samsung Galaxy, tablet. But, as more and more tablets hit the market, and the lines between the alternatives become even more blurred, Apple and Microsoft will both find themselves fighting the same, uphill battle. Don’t be surprised to learn that Microsoft’s Surface sales were muted, when CEO Steve Ballmer finally opens up about Surface sales — and its price point will be the reason why.

The survey of 2,400 electronics stores, and subsequent upending of Apple’s top spot in the Japanese tablet market, isn’t the end of the world. After all, we’re talking about a total of approximately 3.6 million tablets last year, and expected sales of 4.9 million units in 2013 – chicken feed for Apple, right?

Page 1 of 2
Comments
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).

Lists

The 10 Most Expensive iPhone Apps

The 9 Most Expensive Designer Shoes in the World

The 10 Most Expensive Cigarette Brands

The 10 Most Expensive Law Schools in the US

The 10 Best Wall Street Movies

The 10 Most Expensive Golf Clubs Ever Sold

The 10 Most Expensive Golf Memberships

The 10 Best Disney Characters Ever Created

The 8 Best Foods for Gaining Weight

The 10 Most Expensive Colleges in the World

The 7 Most Memorable Ad Campaigns of All Time

The 7 Most Expensive High Schools in the World

The 10 Electric Vehicles with the Longest Range

The 10 Cities with the Worst Drivers in the World

The 10 Most Expensive Dresses Ever Created

10 Islands to Visit Before You Die

10 Famous Celebrities Who Needed Rehab

The 15 Countries with the Largest Oil Reserves

The 10 Most Overused Excuses in the World

The 5 Best iOS Apps You Can’t Get on Android

5 Companies Damaged By Social Media Blunders

The 10 Most Legendary Blues Songs

The 10 Most Lawless Places in the World

4 Reasons China is a Threat to the US

The 17 Most Sugary Drinks in the World

The 10 Most Ruthless Rulers in History

The 10 Greatest Generals in History

Top 8 Travel Destinations for 2015

The 10 Safest Dog Breeds for Children

The 10 Most Stolen Vehicles in the US

The 7 Most Expensive Celebrity Weddings

The 10 Best LoL Teams in the World

Top 10 Worst Marketing Campaigns Ever Produced

Top 5 Diets that Help You Lose Weight

The 10 Best Ways to Stay Awake

7 Artists That Switched Musical Genres

The 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in New Jersey

The 10 Best High Schools in New York

The 10 Countries With the Least Gender Inequality

The 6 Biggest Musician-Manager Feuds

The 10 Countries with the Cheapest Gas Prices

The 7 Most Theatrical Bands of All Time

The 8 Worst Band Breakups of All Time

The 10 Most Important South American Leaders

The 7 Most Successful Casting Show Winners

The 10 Most Peaceful Countries in the World

5 Big Reasons Communism Failed

The 15 Most Famous Carl Icahn Quotes

10 Scary Animals that are Actually Harmless

The 8 Most Famous Singer-Actors in Entertainment

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!