Google’s Pixel phones have been slowly but surely gaining momentum in the smartphone market, and according to a new report, much of that sales growth is now coming from Japan in 2023.
Counterpoint Research Reports indicate that Google Pixel shipments jumped 67% globally year-over-year in the first quarter of 2023. This was largely driven by sales of the Pixel 6a, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro. That alone is a solid number, especially as the overall smartphone market continues to shrink.
More interesting, however, is where some of this growth is coming from.
Over the course of the year, a much larger percentage of Google Pixel shipments come from Japan versus the rest of Google’s markets. In the first quarter of 2023, Japan accounted for 34% of Google Pixel shipments, up from just 10% a year earlier. This also puts Japan first for the Pixel, with the US down from 51% to 31%. This doesn’t mean that Pixel sales in the US are down, it just means that more of the brand’s growth is happening in Japan. Meanwhile, Western Europe saw a decline from 24% to 17%, while other markets combined rose from 14% to 18%.
The Pixel 7a was clearly a big contributor here, as the mid-range device saw a 74% jump in shipments over the Pixel 6a within its first three weeks.
The Pixel 7a was particularly successful in Japan, where smaller screens are more common and where carriers tightly control the market. Google began selling the 7a at DOCOMO, Japan’s third major cellular company besides SoftBank and AU, where the Pixel 6a and other earlier models were also sold. Notably, the Pixel 6a still managed to be the best-selling Android phone in the country for seven consecutive months in the country.
It’s also clear that Google has now taken the number two spot in Japan after Apple, overtaking local brands like Sharp and Sony. Google holds approximately 9% of the market.
It’s interesting to see this shift within the Google brand, and it helps explain some of Google’s previous marketing pushes in Japan, as well as why the country had one of only four slots where the Pixel Fold is sold.
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