Japan flag Japan: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Japan


Internet access
Internet penetration in Japan is currently 82.1% and should reach 83.2% by 2021. Smartphone penetration is a lot less (47.8%) but is projected to grow to 54.4% in the next four years. There were 103.89 million internet users in Japan in 2017, and this figure is projected to reach 104.27 million by 2022. Japan has the 7th fastest internet connection speed in the world (20.2 Mbps) – average internet speeds are higher in developed Asian countries. Japan had the third largest rate of high broadband connectivity (73%) as of 2017. The most popular search engines are Google (69.79%), Yahoo! (25.92%), Bing (3.53%), Baidu (0.44%), Never (0.1%) and DuckDuckGo (0.08%).
E-commerce market
There were nearly 89 million online shoppers in Japan in 2017. That same year, the Japanese B2C e-commerce turnover grew by 16% to US$ 79,247 million. Japan had an online population of 116.8 million people who were aged 15 and older. While Japanese consumers have been rather reluctant to buy foreign products in the past, they have become progressively more open to them over time. Japanese consumers are highly diverse in their interests and tastes, which range from traditional needs to more westernised desires. User penetration is at 66.6% in 2018 and it is expected to hit 72.6% in 2022. Revenue in the e-commerce market is expected to amount to US$ 105.1 million in 2018. The market is expected to show an annual growth rate of 6.2% resulting in a market volume of US$ 133.6 in 2022.
E-commerce sales and customers
In 2017, 79.5% of the population in Japan had purchased products online. By the end of 2018, this figure is expected to grow to 80.3%. In 2017, retail e-commerce sales amounted to US$ 111.33 billion and are projected to grow to US$ 122.46 billion in 2018. In 2017, e-retail sales accounted for 8.2% of all retail sales in Japan, and this figure is expected to reach 9.7% in 2019. In 2018, 80.3 million people in Japan are expected to buy goods and services online. Electronics and media are currently the leading product category in Japan, accounting for US$ 23.73 billion market share, followed by fashion, which generates US$ 22.28 billion in sales. Japan’s e-commerce payment options are many: Credit card and debit card payments account for 66% of payments for e-commerce transactions. A variety of other “eWallet” and E-Payment options are also proliferating. In addition, cash payments for online purchases are accepted at convenience stores (Konbini). About 17% of such payments are made in cash at Konbini after products are delivered, a popular option for many teens without bank accounts or credit cards. 48% of consumers purchase online on a monthly basis. The preferred device to access online retailers is PCs (82%), followed by smartphones (43%), which have been gaining popularity when it comes to online shopping. Still, 92% of online shoppers in Japan buy using desktops, a stark contrast to the amount of smartphone (6%) and tablet (1%) shoppers.
Social media
52.56 million people in Japan are active monthly social network users, with the most popular ones being Facebook (39.32%), Twitter (29.08%), Pinterest (13.73%), YouTube (10.62%), Tumblr (2.58%) and Instagram (2.29%). Their growth is low and there are signs of little time being spent on the social networks. Facebook is showing stagnation in Japan. On the other hand, Instagram is taking off, pushing beyond 10 million users in Japan this year.

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Latest Update: May 2023

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