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AMD CPU Shipments in Japan Sink to 25% of Total, Intel Achieves 74%

AMD vs. Intel CPU boxes
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

AMD's market share in Japan is in decline, ceding significant ground to Intel in recent months. According to information collated by BCN, a Japanese electronics aggregator that pulls sales volume data from retailers and e-tailers across the country, AMD-branded CPU sales hit their lowest point in three years this January, commanding only 25% of total sales volume. AMD's loss is Intel's win, as is usually the case, with the blue giant securing a 74% share of total sales for the same month.

AMD's Japanese market share (by monthly sales volume) achieved a high of around 70% in June 2020; a second peak at 68% of monthly CPU shipments occurred in December of the same year — likely bolstered by the introduction of the Ryzen 5000-series CPU family a month earlier. In either case, it seems that the most popular AMD products centered around the excellent price-to-performance ratio of the Ryzen 5 family, and products within this family accounted for almost half of AMD's sales during those peak months.

Monthly CPU sales volume in the Japanese market

AMD's market share hit its lowest in three years this January, selling one CPU for each three sold by rival Intel. (Image credit: BCN)

AMD's market share gains aren't only attributable to itself, however, as Intel faced severe shortages throughout 2020 due to low production yields with its 10nm manufacturing process (now rebranded to Intel 7). These wreaked havoc with Intel's roadmap, and even forced the company to backport designs to 14nm in order to meet performance and volume demands, avoiding the ill-fated (at the time) 10nm process. Intel's less competitive portfolio, higher volume of overall global market share across product categories, and AMD's then-advantage of having its production at TSMC meant that AMD products were able to fill the void left by Intel's production woes.

But of course, tides turn in the semiconductor space, and Intel has generally recovered from its manufacturing issues, ramping up volumes after the re-engineering of the 10nm process with its SuperFin technology. AMD, meanwhile, is now facing shortages with foundry partner TSMC, which serves some of the biggest wafer-consuming companies in the world alongside AMD — Apple, Qualcomm, and several other clients all battle for TSMC's limited node production capacity, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Monthly CPU sales volume in the Japanese market

Intel's rise ion sales volume "coincidentally" spiked following Alder Lake's November 2021 release. (Image credit: BCN)

One might think that AMD's market share decline means the company's CPUs have somehow become so much less desirable than Intel's. The launch of Alder Lake and the 12th Gen Core family, which put Intel back at CPU performance parity with AMD (and in our Best CPUs for Gaming picks), certainly contributed to the decline in AMD's sales. However, that's likely not the only reason, as despite the overwhelming demand and supply constraints experienced in the electronics space, AMD has consistently outpaced itself in earnings, leading the IC (Integrated Circuit) industry's growth for 2021.

AMD, like all other companies, prioritizes manufacturing (and deliveries) of products with higher ASPs (Average Sale Price) — and even then, AMD also prioritizes stocks and supplies for the markets in which its brand recognition is stronger. We may merely be looking at the effects of AMD's product and distribution priorities, but the fact remains that Intel outsold AMD three-to-one in Japan, with a significant amount of the sales volume gain spiking after Alder Lake's November 2021 launch. A month doesn't a trend make, but smoke does mostly arise wherever there's a fire.

Francisco Pires
Francisco Pires

Francisco Pires is a freelance news writer for Tom's Hardware with a soft side for quantum computing.

  • watzupken
    I feel there is no reason to worry for AMD. Demand is cyclical, and when there are better/ newer alternatives, it is expected that demand for older chip will drop. Not to mention that AMD have sold very well last year, and I really don't expect demand to be red hot, especially when Zen 4 chips are on the horizon.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    Intel's Alder Lake is highly competitive and a better buy in many performance brackets. For the first time I'm seeing serious discounts on zen 3 parts.

    Competition is a good thing. My next build will likely be rocket RAPTOR lake if this price to performance competitiveness remains.
    Reply
  • DavidMV
    watzupken said:
    I feel there is no reason to worry for AMD. Demand is cyclical, and when there are better/ newer alternatives, it is expected that demand for older chip will drop. Not to mention that AMD have sold very well last year, and I really don't expect demand to be red hot, especially when Zen 4 chips are on the horizon.

    Intel dominated last year too...

    Intel x86 Desktop CPU Market Share: 84%
    Intel x86 Laptop CPU Market Share: 78%
    Intel x86 Server CPU Market Share: 89%

    The only thing AMD had a high market share on was DIY builds... but that looks to be tied with Alder Lake now.
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    Intel has a large incumbent advantage that will dominate if the performance difference is small either way.
    Reply
  • salgado18
    DavidMV said:
    Intel dominated last year too...

    Intel x86 Desktop CPU Market Share: 84%
    Intel x86 Laptop CPU Market Share: 78%
    Intel x86 Server CPU Market Share: 89%

    The only thing AMD had a high market share on was DIY builds... but that looks to be tied with Alder Lake now.
    Is that owned market share, or sales market share?
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    salgado18 said:
    Is that owned market share, or sales market share?
    Should be sales. AMD had about 25% of the x86 market last year, but that included consoles. Remove millions of console CPU's, and the above market share numbers look pretty much in line.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    digitalgriffin said:
    Intel's Alder Lake is highly competitive and a better buy in many performance brackets. For the first time I'm seeing serious discounts on zen 3 parts.

    Competition is a good thing. My next build will likely be rocket lake if this price to performance competitiveness remains.
    Why Rocket Lake?
    Reply
  • DavidMV
    spongiemaster said:
    Why Rocket Lake?

    I bet he meant Raptor Lake. I see that typo a lot.
    Reply
  • DavidMV
    salgado18 said:
    Is that owned market share, or sales market share?

    Sales market share.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    spongiemaster said:
    Why Rocket Lake?
    Sorry meant Raptor Lake. Good catch. Thanks.
    Reply