iPad mini keynote (Phil Schiller, Nexus 7 comparison 001)

Apple unveiled two new iPads just before the holidays, and is expected, by many analysts, to report strong tablet sales for the quarter next week. But according to a new report out of Japan, that may not be the case.

Market research firm BCN surveyed some 2,400 consumer electronics stores in Japan throughout the month of December. And their results showed that the iPad was outsold during the period, for the first time since 2010…

The popular Asian market-watcher Nikkei (via CNET) reports:

“TOKYO (Nikkei)–The iPad from Apple Inc. got knocked off its throne as king of the tablets in Japan during the year-end sales season, bowing to the lower-priced Nexus from Google Inc.

In December, the Google Nexus made by Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc. accounted for 44.4% of all tablet sales by volume electronics retailers. That’s according to a survey of 2,400 stores nationwide by market research firm BCN Inc., released Wednesday.

Google’s figure beat Apple’s 40.1% share, dethroning the iPad for the first time since it went on sale in May 2010.”

The report cites the difference in price — the Nexus 7 starts at just 19,800 yen (or $223 USD), and the iPad and iPad mini are priced at 42,800 yen ($483) and 28,800 yen ($325) respectively — as the reason for Google’s success.

BCN is careful to note that there was a shortage of iPad Minis at many stores during the time of its survey, which likely contributed some to the marketshare difference. But it maintains that it believes that price was the bigger factor.

Either way it’s bad news for Apple, who’s stock has already taken a beating this week on the back of reports of weak iPhone 5 demand. It’s clear that investors and other folks on Wall Street think that the company is losing its touch.

What do you think?