Apple reported its Q3 2013 earnings yesterday, showing a record June quarter for iPhone sales, helped by very strong sales in Japan in particular, which grew 66% over the same period the year before. In fact, amid sluggish international revenue growth for the Cupertino company, Japan represented the biggest regional yearly revenue growth, up more than 26 percent while most other regions dropped (see chart above).
Overall Apple’s quarterly revenue was $35.3 billion, up 1% on the year before. iPhone sales were up 20%, and in addition to Japan, the U.S., UK, Japan, Brazil, Russia, India, Thailand and Singapore all grew well.
On the earnings call, CEO Tim Cook was asked if he thought smartphone markets were reaching saturation on the high end. Cook expressed confidence that, at least for Apple, they are not:
From a growth point of view for Apple our key catalysts will be always will be new products and new services, and these are above in existing categories. […] And I don’t subscribe to the common view that […] the smartphone market is at it’s peak. I don’t believe that, but we will see and we will report our result as we go along.
For Apple here in Japan, the most obvious opportunity for growth lies specifically in the 61 million Docomo subscribers that its handsets currently do not reach. Apple has partnered with rival carriers KDDI/au and Softbank, but Docomo remains a staunch holdout.