Japanese iPhone sales are booming, but Apple won't get a penny

iPhones on a desk
(Image credit: Joe Keller / iMore)

Japanese iPhone buyers have reportedly turned to the used market, ditching new iPhone 14 models in favor of saving some money.

Apple might have a brand-new range of models available for customers to pick up, but it's said that iPhone price hikes have left buyers keen to save money and that they are choosing to buy used models.

Money matters

Japan has historically been a country willing to spend money on the latest models of just about anything, but Reuters reports that things have changed. The country's yen currency recently fell to a 32-year low against the dollar, with Apple pricing its products accordingly.

July saw Apple increase the price of the iPhone 13 by almost a fifth, with the iPhone 14 now selling for 20% more than the older model despite customers in the United States now paying the same $799. It's been a similar story in other international markets, but the yen has been hit so hard that Japanese buyers are balking at the price of new handsets.

A new iPhone 14 starts at 119,800 yen ($814), with Reuters saying that the 100,000-yen barrier is putting people off. So instead, some are choosing models like the iPhone SE. And a used one at that.

"At more than 100,000 yen the iPhone 14 is too expensive and I just can't afford it. It would be fine if the battery lasted for 10 years," the person said.

As if to drive the point home, Reuters says that the average sales on Belong's Nicosuma e-commerce site have trebled since Apple started hiking its prices.

Apple isn't alone in hiking prices in the current global economic climate, but the increasing price rate means many prefer to leave Apple's best iPhones on store shelves, buying used instead. And while Apple might not have made as much money if it hadn't increased those prices, it makes nothing from those sold as used units by third-party sellers. Services revenue notwithstanding, of course.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.