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Google's now the number 2 smartphone brand, at least in one country

Pixel phones are second only to Apple in Japan, while the market accounted for more Pixels sold than the US as well.

Published onJuly 7, 2023

Google Pixel 7 camera housing
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Google is the number two smartphone brand in Japan, according to Counterpoint Research.
  • This means Google is also ahead of Japanese OEMs Sharp and Sony in the market.
  • Japan also accounted for more Pixel phones sold than the US.

Google has offered Pixel phones since 2016, but we’ve only heard about major sales growth in the last couple of years. Now, it turns out that the company is a big hit in one market.

Counterpoint Research reports that Pixel phones are seeing massive growth in the Japanese market in Q1 2023. In fact, the brand is now the number two smartphone maker in the country after Apple, accounting for 9% of the market in the quarter. This represents 67% growth compared to a year ago.

The tracking firm noted that Google’s performance puts it ahead of homegrown rivals like Sharp and even Sony in the country. That’s no mean feat in a market that’s previously embraced its local brands.

Counterpoint attributed Google’s strong growth and sales performance to the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7 series. And it looks like the Pixel 7a is off to a strong start as well, as the phone has reportedly seen a 76% increase in sales over its first three weeks compared to the Pixel 6a’s first three weeks on the market. The new phone is also available on all three carriers now, compared to the 6a’s availability via two carriers.

The firm also notes that several Japanese brands have recently withdrawn from the market, potentially strengthening Apple and Google’s market share in the future.

Japan passes the US for Pixel shipments

What’s perhaps even more noteworthy is the fact that Japan now accounts for more Pixel phones shipped than the US, according to Counterpoint. More specifically, Japan accounts for 34% of Google’s global Pixel phone shipments. The US reportedly accounted for 31% of global Pixel shipments, although US shipments remained relatively flat year-on-year.

Japan has been a Pixel market since 2018, but the news still suggests that Google could see major growth if it focuses on markets other than North America and the EU.

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