Japanese Consumers Opting for Smaller, Cheaper iPhone Screens

Sales of older, smaller iPhone models have surged in Japan since the launch of the new iPhone 15 series last month. Many Japanese consumers are seeking out the discontinued mini versions of the iPhone 12 and 13, which feature 5.4-inch screens that are easier to use with one hand compared to the standard 6.1-inch iPhone 15.

Nikkei Asia is reporting that according to data from used marketplace Belong, sales of the iPhone 12 mini and 13 mini doubled in volume the week after the iPhone 15 debut on September 22. The iPhone 13 mini was already discontinued by Apple ahead of the new iPhone launch. With no mini version in the iPhone 15 lineup, secondhand mini iPhones have become the main option for those wanting a smaller device.

Lower prices are also driving demand for used mini iPhones. A 64GB iPhone 12 mini sells for around 40,000-50,000 yen ($266-$333) compared to 124,800 yen ($833) for the cheapest new iPhone 15 with 128GB storage. The iPhone 13 mini costs 70,000-80,000 yen ($466-$533) for 128GB.

The used smartphone market has steadily grown in Japan as cost-conscious consumers seek deals. Research firm MM Research Institute estimates used phone sales will increase nearly 10% this fiscal year, reaching 2.57 million units. The affordability and compact size of older mini iPhones make them an attractive option for many Japanese buyers. So much for the bigger, brighter display argument.