Japan's usage of Windows 10 Mobile varies drastically from rest of the planet

Many companies have a hard time cracking the Japanese market for technology due to homegrown preferences that often differ from global trends. Microsoft is again trying to get a foothold in that land with Windows 10 Mobile, and they are having some success with more phone models than ever before.

The July numbers from AdDuplex break down the market in Japan by looking at install data from late June. Overall, the numbers are still minuscule compared to the whole smartphone market in Japan, but what is available is fascinating when compared to the planet. Indeed, Japan has many Windows phone models not found in other parts of the world resulting in a regionally skewed market that is unique.

Here is how Japan compares to the global distribution of Windows 10 Mobile devices.

Windows 10 Mobile Distribution: Global vs. Japan

Swipe to scroll horizontally
RankGlobalJapan
1Lumia 535MCJ Madosma Q501
2Lumia 640Freetel Katana 01
3Lumia 550Lumia 535
4Lumia 640 XLNuAns NEO
5Lumia 950VAIO Phone Biz
6Lumia 930Freetel Katana 02
7Lumia 650Lumia 640
8Lumia 730Lumia 620
9Lumia 950 XLLumia 1520
10Lumia 830Lumia 1020

It is fascinating to see the Lumia 1020 finally on any list especially in Japan. The NuAns NEO, a relative newcomer, is also making some strides in the #4 position while Lumias still make up for 5 out of 10 of the most popular Windows 10 Mobile devices.

NuAns Neo

NuAns is now trying their hand at the global market through a Kickstart project to fund their phone. This will be one of the first times we have seen a manufacturer in Japan try to reach out to new markets. Even VAIO is still keeping their unique Phone Biz device locked to the Nipponese market.

So far, however, NuAns has only managed to get 441 backers for Kickstarter funding 1/7th of their goal with just 18 days left.

The overall picture is even more fascinating. In Japan, Lumias account for just 59.51 percent of all Windows Phones versus 97 percent for the rest of the world.

Japan's distribution model is what Microsoft wants in the long term for Windows 10 Mobile globally with OEMs taking over hardware. The question is can Microsoft replicate those results in other parts of the world. So far, only a few manufacturers have made new Windows 10 phones, and none have strongly resonated with the public. Leveraging local manufacturuers in Japan, however, seems to be more efficient than importing a foregin brand.

HP potentially could make an impact with the Elite x3 if companies by large quantities of them for their workforce. That, of course, remains to be seen.

About AdDuplex

The numbers from AdDuplex are collected through their in-app advertising that is prevalent in over 5,000 apps in the Windows Store. That data serve as an important metric within the Windows Phone ecosystem. The full AdDuplex report for July will be posted on their blog at https://blog.adduplex.com/ on Friday (July 22).

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

137 Comments
  • Very interesting. Windows phone is still the best
  • Very interesting to see 550 so high up.
  • "The question is can Microsoft replicate those results inother parts of the world." Why would they want to? The actual marketshare is 0.1% and we see that sort of number in a few other markets as well (spain for example) - so the OEMs are having to fight extra hard for their low low numbers. Windows needs a couple of OEMs to a) grow and b) show that windows is profitable - fighting it with multiple players for such little money is more likely to kill it off than grow the otherall market.
  • That is not what the article asks...
  • I have no idea what you are talking about, sorry. I made my point that they need more successful OEMs, you argue for the same thing?
  • more succesfful OEM wont swtich from Android to WP they want profit, nothing else. Maybe if Microsoft would pay some money for Sony, LG to produce some WP10 flagships... but than there is still a huge app gap so average users without tech interests wont purchase such a phone
  • What profit? Most OEM Android phone makers loose money on those phones already.
  • Maybe they'll tighten their money?
  • Yet. Curiously enough, most of them are still in business.
  • Perhaps, but HTC and Sony are a shadow of their former glory. I've read somewhere that the average OEM (except Samsung) makes about 1 dollar profit per device sold.
  • Well sony's Z series phones are very expensive too, so I wouldn't be sure about that.
  • Yeah, Samsung to android is like Nokia was to WP.
  • Ummm? The VAIO W10M phone looks super nice for a business phone, what more would you want? There are more options in Japan from Japanese OEMs than the US
  • I hope they still make it global at some point. I'd love to have one without having to pay a fortune on ebay and the likes :(
  • You know some people can't resist typing out a dramatically exaggerated market share number.
  • It's from the last Kantar Worldpanel - take it up with them if you don't like it (Spain which I compared it to is 0.2%). 
  • But he is right about that tiny market share. And having Japanese oems on top could be related to the fact that Japanese still preffer japanese brands. Thats why Sony and Nintendo sell a lot more consoles than Microsoft ever did.
  • You don't get Nadella's mastermind plan. All goes just as planned and Windows phones are soon gone for good.
  • If it would mean the end of your pointless trolling then it would almost be worth it.
  • Boss, you are getting things way too mixed up. Firstly this figure of 0.1% is more rhetoric than factual, but point still taken. however that is a global figure, not of japan. the breakdown given is for japan. So noo point in applying global numbers there. Rather I would say that if market share for windows in japan is double that of the rest of the world, then it is a case to show that OEM sales don't actully cannibalize Lumia sales but supplement it, helping in growth of windows phones market. I also believe that this is what MS knows already and therefore, it is doing all it can to encourage OEM to make and sell windows phones. Hopefully we see OEMs like Viao and Nuans in other countries as well. HP will be there, but primarily as an enterprise product, so I don't expect it to change the market dynamics much.
  • Sadly it's actually factually, it peaked in Japan at 1.4% back in may 2014 - see for yourself: http://www.kantarworldpanel.com/global/smartphone-os-market-share/ (select Japan and then use the slider).
  • My 950xl was not travel friendly in Japan. Tours had a lot of iPhone Android support. W10M zilch.
  • What do you mean by travel friendly? I used an Iijmio sim with my lumia 640 and everything worked perfectly
  • I think he means that there were specific apps for tours/exhibits available for iPhone and Android, which were unavailable for Windows.
  • Yes, what NatKingColeslaw said. Maps wasn't supported either so i had trouble with GPS and finding places, like our stay at AirBnb and other tourist places. Didn't have an app for their subway system, HyperDia. I would definitely look into loaning an Android or iPhone when I travel back.
  • Yes Here Maps was absurd in Japan. I used Waze that time, it worked fine. Fortunately, the maps now support Japan correctly! As for the subway I don't know ... Also there is gmaps and the new one for google maps.
  • I found an app called Navitime, it seems to do what you said about getting public transport routes and stuff. Maybe you have to change your region to Japan to download it as Kumalica, but you can switch back afterwards.
  • Oh nice! I'll have to try this when i come back! I never even thought about changing my region. Thank you!
  •   Japan uses slightly different LTE bands.
    ​Might even depend on the US vs EU version of the Lumia 950.    
  • hey thanks so much for posting. im moving to japan next week and bringing my lumia 950 xl with me. yeah a lot of apps japanese people use are for iphone and andrioid only. one app i found that was designed for windows 10 mobile is "kumalica" which links to japanese prepaid cards (like suica, edy, and other cards) via nfc in order to check card balances, view transaction history, and more. if youre interested in looking at a japanese pdf about it, view it here: http://www.slideshare.net/nobu0001/kumalica and to download it, switch to the japanese region in the phone and then search for "kumalica".
  • That app sounds awesome! I'll check it out
  • Hey awesome!!! I'll definitely try it when I get to Japan. Btw you said you used Iijmio sim for your Lumia. Did call and sms and data work without problems? What apn settings did you use?
  • I used a data-only card, so no calls, only internet. But it worked perfectly fine, you just need to check that your phone has the LTE bands necessary, which in your case shouldn't be a problem. The apn settings came with the SIM card's instructions, so no worries there.
  • hey sorry for the late reply. i see, where did you buy the sim? thankfully the u.s. lumia 950 xl is a world phone so yeah im not worried on that part. your messages are making me more relieved to use my phone in japan so thanks very much!
  • Haha, that's great. I think several stores sell them, but I got mine in Yodobashi kamera. You should check iijmio's website.
  • No entrenchment in Japan?
  • The word you are looking for is retrenchment.
  • Odd, because as similar as those words read they are completely different in meaning. English. Go figure (whatever that means)
  •  lol
  • What's the marketshare for WP in Japan?
  • 0.5%
  • LOL
  • It's actually not a joke.
  • And not serious. Come on. - You - can't be.
  • Kantar numbers, not mine.
  • Lkk... Funny
  • Well 0.5% is a sufficient gradient to convey storm water in a pipe.. So it's sufficient to convey wp Posted via the Windows Central App for Android.. But waiting for the HP Elite so I can get rid of this junkie Galaxy S5...
  • If you use 0.5%, I hope you have a small field. That's roughly 2-1/2 fps and only if you're using HDPE. 
  • Your signature is awesome :)
  • I think 0,5% is too optimistic. According to Kantar WPs share of all sold phones have been 0,1% a long time. It's probably much less than 0,5%. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I took the 0.5% from Kantar's latest report.
  • Note that Kantar (and others) only measure monthly sales market share, which is not the same things as brand ownership market share. Their stats are misleading to the general public.  If you want to know how many people are using a Windows phone vs iphone or Android, you would have to check their stores userbase numbers.
  • Well, since there aren't real marketshare numbers anywhere, we have to work with what we get. The same goes for AdDuplex numbers etc as you said.
  • Japan is getting all the Win10M love
  • Apps=problem solved Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Well, duh. Thats like saying Food = end of world hunger. If only it were that simple :)
  • I'm moving to Japan!
  • Off topic but the windows central app is driving me crazy. It's like playing Russian roulette over here, you just don't know which article you're going to get, which order, will it even load the articles
  • It's crashed three times in the space of two minutes for me.
    And no don't tell me to install it in phone memory, that's by default where all my apps are installed. This is the only app that crashes on my Lumia 950xl. So annoying.
  • Same phone same issues for me too
  • Lumia 950 xl crashes once every week and only when scrolling comments, so...
  • Just like my windows phone
  • Had the same issue. Clearing articles cache in app settings solved it for me
  • WP8.1 app works fine. Uwp to blame.
  • UWP app works great actually. Not that you'd know.
  • Isn't that exactly what you love about Live Tiles? They are trying to re-create that in the app. You mean random information changing randomly isn't a good experience? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • What's the point of having more models if the OS is broken ?
  • Assertions are not facts.
  • It is a fact. To OEMs the OS is broken. They are unable to differentiate Windows phones from the competition. It never truly feels like their device, it is always Microsoft's. When you feel ownership of something, you are more likely to support it properly. Microsoft is in full control of updates, all features and even the UI! Why would a manufacturer want to deal with that when Android basically gives them full control of their own platform? With the rigid UI and lack of customization options they will have a hard time gaining OEM support. If Microsoft wants to court manufacturers, why haven't they done anything to appease them? How is the same path the right answer? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It isn't Android.
  • Lol indeed. If lagdroid can do that...
  • Android is so broken and laggy yet outsells Windows phones 160:1. Why do people hate Windows phones so much? Just apps can't explain that. If people liked it, they would have grown their presence enough to command attention. That never happened at all. There has to be a crucial flaw. Maybe the rigid UI and lack of customization? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I know that answer. It's because most of the people don't like the UI, besides that, they are not taking into consideration because of negative journalism around that. They don't like it. But i think this UI is the best approach to scale through various form factors.
  • they have five models in this list is Japanese exclusive models. and there would be more  like the up coming lenovo one and another VAIO.
  • I'm glad to see nuans and Vaio happen. what's the worldwide windows phone/mobile usage, and how does Japan fit in? I remember numbers from a while back and Japan really didn't have a large share compared with other countries. has this significantly changed?
  • So what is the share finally?
  • Why do you think that isn't mentioned? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • All these phone are unlocked phones. Like my TITAN, 620, 930 and 950 any Lumia phones here are essentially "illegal." According to Japan, if not manufactured specifically for Japan, carriers won't touch them and let you know in no uncertain terms. The upcoming Lenovo on Softbank will be the only Windows phone a carrier has featured since the Toshiba/Fujitsu in the roll out of WP7.
  • Well, there's MVNO for those "illegal" phones
  • Good to see it's gaining, but to be honest I haven't seen anyone using Windows phone around...
    Things maybe different in other cities, though...
  • For that one person who downvoted: I'm living in Japan and based on my observation the only person using Windows phone around me is me.
  • Whoever said it was gaining? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • before W10M, the market share in Japan was 0.0%
  • 1 more for NuAns neo Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You've got a hand just like Rich Devine's...
  • @ArrowQueen, what exactly is so broken about the OS? My phone doesn't crash, or freeze, or lag. Everything seems to work as it should (in fact, I'd go so far as to say I can't think of a single thing about the OS that doesn't work as it should). Once again, what exactly is so broken?
  • Microsoft does not sell the Lumia in Japan. If you want to buy it in japan, you need to use the expansys or such of overseas dealers.
  • I offer a different view:
    Carriers are out of the picture re W10M. How and where do corporations and business buy their IT stuff?
    Not from a carrier. W10M devices will be marketed via the same sales channels that are already established for IT products.
    Companies buy either direct if they are big enough
    ​or they buy through a big distributor or a smaller, but specialized VAR. Forget carriers, they are out of the picture.
    Carriers also would not sell any dual SIM phones over their dead body.          
  • Not entirely accurate. Companies buy into plans with specific carriers in Japan and if they claim a phone is not supported on the proper carrier it can't be used. When I pressed for a company phone I was told it had to be android or iPhone. And it was all on a specific carrier, so it meant a phone locked to that carrier. They are relying on 4G to connect from companies and Outservice. They are slowly replacing their 2 year old failing iPad in the LCs. And rather than going to Surface or even a Japanese OEM, they are opting for android.
  •   You are right, Japan has a very special system for procurement than any other region on this planet. One needs a special "license" (forgot the Japanese term for this) in order to be able to sell to a certain company.
    I had used my phone in Japan and it worked, but that is a different situation. Japan is different. Enjoy the great Japanese food!      
  • "Forget carriers, they are out of the picture."   Carriers are only in the picture in the USA. Nowhere else in the World does carrier support matter.
  • Except, that's where the average consumer goes to buy a phone. Tale85
  • I live in Greece and it'd be interesting to see some share's stats here. In almost evey big and leading electronics store, there is a Microsoft kiosk with Lumias (btw I like to see people playing with them :P)! Marketing isn't also that bad.  There are tv ads about carriers showing some Lumias. Offers come and go (recently Vodafone Greece has started offering the Lumia 950XL with a big cut price and the stock now is unavailable)! In April, a huge retail store "Public" organized a contest for 2 Lumia 950XL! So...
  • Interesting. Although I'm not an expert by any means, I was in Tokyo a few weeks ago and just about every phone I saw was an iPhone -- I hardly even saw any androids. I was the only one with a Windows Phone
  • You saw it wrong. Windows phone is Big in Japan. Read it here.
  • pls note that NO Lumias are officially available in Japan's market....
  • Offtopic: Microsoft Portugal said on twitter that Pokemon GO will be soon released on Windows Phone Store.
  • The first Pokemon caught by windows phone will be coming out from the UEFA European Cup at Lisbon. And it will be a moth.
  • Soon™
  • I haven't found the tweet :/
  • I searched Google and found it
  • Yeah found it too. Thanks :)
  • Already reported that, but it seems not true. Let's wait confirmation from HQ.
  • Try "monster buster" till then. Quite close to pokemon...