As yen tumbles, gadget-loving Japan goes for secondhand iPhones

TOKYO, Nov 8 (Reuters) – For years, Japanese shoppers have been eager for new gadgets, but now Japan’s crash has pushed some of its new iPhones aside and once market-major Apple Inc (AAPL.

The Japanese currency’s fall to a 32-year low against the dollar weighed on consumers and accelerated a wider drift in the world’s No.3 economy. Industry watchers say Japan’s shoppers have become more open to buying once, thanks in part to the rise of online auction sites.

In July, the price of Apple’s entry iPhone 13 looked close to the fifth. The first iPhone 14 was later made at 20% more than the iPhone 13, with a US price of $799. While the dollar has risen against global currencies this year, the Japanese one has been particularly hard hit, dropping 22%.

Salaryman Kaoru Nagase wanted a new phone, but couldn’t justify the price of the iPhone 14, which starts at 119,800 gold coins ($814). But the iPhone SE 2 used in Tokyo’s Akihabara district bought less than a third of electronics.

“At more than 100,000 Japanese yen, the iPhone 14 is too expensive and I can’t afford it. It would be good if the battery lasted for 10 years,” he said. The iPhone SE 2, released in 2020, but without the dual rear camera, the iPhone 14 was a “good balance” of cost and features, he said.

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Lake declined to comment for this story. But in its annual regulatory filing last month, it said Japan sales fell 9% in the year ended September 24 due to weakness in Japan.

Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri analysts also acknowledged last month that the strong dollar had led to an increase in the price of its products in some countries, but sales still grew by double digits in Indonesia, Vietnam and other markets against currency challenges.

Sales of used smartphones grew nearly 15% in Japan to a record 2.1 million in the last fiscal year and are likely to reach 3.4 million by 2026, according to research technology firm MM Research Institute.

100,000 YEN LIMIT

Taishin Chonan bought a used iPhone 13 after the screen cracked on one of the two devices he carries for personal use. The replacement has a higher resolution and a better battery and camera than the iPhone 7 had been using.

“Until now I’ve only ever bought new phones, this is the first time I’ve bought one,” the 23-year-old said. “New models are expensive.”

Even after the price hikes, the iPhone 14 sold in Japan is the cheapest among 37 countries when tax is taken into account, the MM Research Institute said in a September survey. More Japanese weakness could prompt Apple to raise prices again, the research firm said, potentially triggering its hefty 50% share of the Japanese market.

The latest iPhones are now priced at a level of 100,000 yuan, which is a “major psychological barrier” for many shoppers, said Daisuke Inoue, chief executive of Related Inc., a unit of Itochu Corp.’s trading house. (8001.T) which sells used telephones. and tables of cod.

Average sales on Nicosia’s e-commerce site have tripled since Apple raised prices in July compared to the average over the previous three months, Inoue said. In operations outside the Tokyo center, the transmissions of used telephones were not boxed and sorted before being inspected, and the ranks and ranks of workers were cleared for long records.

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Then the phones were photographed from multiple angles for sale online. Itochu uses a global network to help it source used machines both in Japan and overseas, depending on where the best prices are, Inoue said.

Some of the devices have been purchased by businesses, such as tablets that were previously used for payment in case or shows in taxis, he said.

Many Japanese have traditionally shunned second-hand goods, including electronics, but that is changing.

Market site Mercari saw strong growth in sales of smartphones, while sales of home appliances and electronics also grew, a Mercari, Inc ( 4385.T ) spokesman said.

With Japan opening up again to foreign tourists, the iPhone market is getting another boost.

Retail chain Iosys Co Ltd has seen a surge in foreign tourists buying used iPhones in the last two months.

“Jena just keeps shrinking,” said Iosys executive Takashi Okuno. “She returned from visiting Japan and buying an iPhone.”

($1 = 147.1200 yen)

Additional news by Kohei Miyazaki in Zama, Japan and Parosh Dave in San Francisco; David Dolan writing; Editing by Lincoln Feast

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