The Unique Nuances of Digital in Japan

DataReportal’s Simon Kemp recently joined FutureShift Asia for a webinar exploring the latest state of digital in Japan, where Simon presented a detailed analysis of what makes Japan’s digital behaviours and landscape so different to those we see elsewhere in the world.


You can watch the full presentation in the YouTube embed below (click here if that’s not working for you).

After that, scroll down to see a full transcript of the video, and to find a SlideShare embed with all the slides from Simon’s presentation.

You can also watch the complete webinar – including a subsequent panel discussion with a panel of Japanese marketing experts – by clicking here.

Japan’s Unique Digital Behaviours

Making sense of connected behaviours in the Land of the Rising Sun

So hello everybody – こんばんは! – and thanks very much for joining us today.

I’m Simon Kemp, and over the next 30 minutes or so, I’ll guide you through some essential headlines from our Digital 2021 Reports, with a particular focus on the latest trends in Japan.

Please feel free to ask your questions as we go – and you can share those via the comments section whenever you see something that you’d like to explore in more detail as part of our panel and Q&A [you can also ask questions via the comments section at the bottom of this article].

And if you’d like to ask a question after today’s session, you can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Clubhouse as ‘eskimon’.

Just a bit of context before we start: I run Kepios, which is a management advisory service that helps organisations all over the world make sense of what people are really doing online.

And a big part of our work centres on the Global Digital Reports series that we produce on behalf of We Are Social and Hootsuite.

If you’ve not seen these reports before, they provide in-depth insights into what people in more than 240 countries around the world are doing on the internet, mobile devices, social media, and ecommerce.

And best of all, we make all of these reports available completely for free over on

In addition to producing these reports, Kepios also provides custom briefings to clients all over the world, helping organisations as diverse as multinationals and SMEs, investment banks, national governments, and NGOs to make sense of people’s evolving digital behaviours.

But the good news is that I’m not here to sell you anything today.

Here’s what I will be covering in my presentation.

We’ll start by exploring the latest state of digital around the world, before comparing that to the nuances of Japan’s digital landscape.

We’ll then go on to take a closer look at some of the most interesting findings from this year’s reports, including the peculiarities of Japan’s social media landscape, the country’s evolving online search behaviours, the state of Japanese ecommerce, and trends in online entertainment.

And I’ll finish up with a look at the top channels for digital marketing in Japan, before we open up our panel discussion and Q&A. 

We’ve got loads to get through before then though, so let’s dive straight into the content, starting with a look at the latest global headlines.

1. Essential headlines

And as you can see on the slide here, we’re looking at some pretty impressive numbers.

Two-thirds of the world’s total population now uses a mobile phone, with more than 5.2 billion people across the planet having access to some kind of mobile device.

And for reference, the latest data show that roughly 80 percent of the handsets in use today are smartphones, so many of these users have the potential to go online via their mobile devices.

Internet users still lag mobile users though, with the latest data showing that just under 60 percent of the world’s population is now online.

That’s still more than 4.6 billion people though – well over twice the number of users that were online just 10 years ago.

And more than 90 percent of those internet users are already on social media.

The latest data show that there are now 4.2 billion social media users around the world, which equates to more than 53 percent of the world’s total population.

However, digital connectivity still isn’t evenly distributed around the world.

As you can see on the map here, well over 90 percent of the population of Northern Europe uses the internet today, but less than a quarter of the population of Eastern Africa was online at the start of 2021.

Closer to home, more than two-thirds of the population across Eastern Asia already uses the internet, but – as you might expect – that figure is largely influenced by figures for China, so we’ll take a look at the specific figures for Japan in just a moment.

But despite these varying levels of access, it’s encouraging to note that levels of digital adoption around the world have been increasing quickly over recent months.

Our research shows that global internet users have grown by more than 7 percent over the past year, while social media users have grown almost twice as quickly, registering year-on-year growth of more than 13 percent.

However, it’s important to highlight that COVID-19 has severely limited research into internet use over the past year, so the figures we’re reporting for internet user growth are probably on the low side.

And as a result, I’m expecting to see a meaningful upward correction in internet user figures once face-to-face research can return to normal.

But let’s go back to those social media user numbers, because they’re easily one of the top headlines  in this year’s reports.

Our analysis shows that almost half a billion new users joined social platforms during 2020, which equates to an average of more than 15 new users every single second.

But the impressive headline stats aren’t limited to user numbers.

Data from GWI shows that people are also spending more time than ever before using connected technologies.

The typical internet user around the world now spends almost 7 hours per day online, which equates to more than 2 full days each week.

For context, that means that the world’s 4.6 billion internet users now spend around 40 percent of their waking lives online – significantly more time than a standard 40-hour work week.

And perhaps most tellingly from a media perspective, GWI’s data shows that the average global internet user now spends more than twice as much time using the internet as they spend watching TV.

But even TV is increasingly shaped by connectivity.

The data show that streaming platforms like Netflix now account more than 40 percent of the 3½ hours that the typical internet user spends watching TV each day, and more than 98 percent of internet users admit to ‘second-screening’ while they’re watching TV too.

The good news is that we’re packing plenty of different activities into our 7 hours of daily internet time though, from connecting with friends and family on social media, to watching movies and vlogs on YouTube, listening to music, playing games, managing our finances, and even finding love.

We’ve even got apps that track what we’re doing while we’re asleep.

So, it’s safe to say that digital has become an essential part of everyday life for people across the globe.

And as you can see here, that’s equally true in Japan, with the country’s internet users also making use of a wide variety of mobile apps.

However, the data clearly show that digital preferences and behaviours in Japan can be very different to the patterns and trends we see elsewhere in the world, so let’s take a closer look at some of the key differences, and explore what they might mean for you and for your work.


2. An overview of digital in Japan

And the first thing to note is that Japan enjoys some of the highest levels of connectivity in the world.

That might not come as a surprise, but this simple fact provides some essential context for the other data points that we’ll explore in this section.

Sadly we don’t have data for unique mobile use in Japan, but the figures for the number of mobile connections suggest that mobile use should already be near ubiquitous across the country.

Similarly, 93 percent of Japan’s population uses the internet today, which equates to more than 117 million people.

Roughly three-quarters of the total population uses social media too, with user figures reaching almost 94 million by the start of 2021.

To put those figures in perspective, here’s how Japan’s internet adoption rate compares to a selection of the world’s larger economies.

And as you can see, Japan ranks pretty highly, with a higher level of internet adoption than the US.

Internet adoption is still growing in Japan too, with the latest data suggesting that nearly 900,000 people in the country came online for the first time during the past 12 months alone.

Social media users grew even faster, with data indicating an increase of more than 4 million new users over the course of 2020.

But despite these high levels of digital adoption, the data also show that people in Japan spend considerably less time using connected devices than the rest of the world.

Indeed, Japan ranks dead last in GWI’s survey of 46 key economies, with the typical user in the country saying they spend just 4½ hours online each day.

That’s 35 percent less than the global average of almost 7 hours.

But the numbers for social media use are even more interesting.

For context, at 74 percent of the total population, social media use in Japan is still significantly above the global average of 54 percent.

However, once again, Japan is dead last in GWI’s ranking of countries by the amount of time spent using social media.

Now, note that this is self-reported activity, and cultural norms may play an important role in shaping how people respond to GWI’s survey.

But the figures still make for very interesting reading, with the typical Japanese internet user saying that they spend less than 1 hour on social media each day.

That’s an hour and a half less than the global average, and means that people in Japan spend 65 percent less time using social media than the typical global user.

For comparison, people in the Philippines spend 5 times as much time using social media as Japanese people do.

So, do these low figures for time spent mean that digital is a less compelling opportunity in Japan?

Well, the good news is that data for television viewing help to put these digital findings into perspective.

And as you can see here, Japan also ranks dead last for television viewing, with respondents to GWI’s survey saying that they spend 30 percent less time watching TV than the global average.

So the key takeaway here is that people in Japan significantly under-index when it comes to time spent with almost all kinds of media, with the figures for Japan consistently lower than global averages.

Even when it comes to more conventional channels such as press and radio, Japanese people still say that they spend less than half the time that their global peers spend with these media.

And – critically – the data also reveal that Japanese people spend almost twice as much time online as they do watching television.

So, beware of those potentially misleading global comparisons: digital is still a prime opportunity in Japan.

For context, one of the reasons why the figures for Japan are so different to global averages is the high median age of Japan’s population.

As you can see on the chart here, Japan has one of the oldest populations in the world, and this has a profound influence on various aspects of digital behaviour.

So, while digital remains a prime opportunity, it’s important to stress that digital success in Japan may require some very different approaches compared to those we might adopt in other countries.

And nowhere is that more obvious than in social media.

3. Social media in Japan: a whole different world?

For reference, here are the top social media platforms around the world in January 2021.

Facebook still tops the list, with more than 2.7 billion monthly active users, while YouTube has almost 2.3 billion.

A total of 6 platforms have more than a billion active users, while at least 17 have 300 million or more MAUs.

However, the ranking of top platforms in Japan looks quite different.

Now it’s worth noting that this list is based on survey responses, so this is self-reported data, as opposed to the platform-reported data that informed the previous chart.

Roughly three-quarters of Japan’s internet users say that they use YouTube each month, putting it at the top of the ranking.

However, LINE is the standout difference in Japan compared to the rest of the world, with roughly 7 in 10 internet users in Japan saying that they use the messaging platform each month.

Twitter also ranks considerably higher in Japan than it does almost anywhere else in the world, and if you’re relatively new to Japan’s digital landscape, it’s particularly interesting to see that Twitter outperforms all of Facebook’s different platforms.

Instagram is also a lot more popular than Facebook in Japan, and this finding is reinforced by Facebook’s own data too.

Anecdotally, TikTok is a popular choice amongst teenagers in Japan, but GWI’s data only covers internet users aged 16 to 64, so this ranking doesn’t include younger teenage users.

Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see that TikTok still ranks behind Skype amongst working-age audiences in Japan.

Similarly, data from App Annie shows that while TikTok was one of the 10 most downloaded non-game apps in Japan last year – and ranked ahead of Twitter – Instagram actually saw a higher volume of downloads than TikTok did.

Another interesting quirk in Japan’s social media landscape is that users say they use far fewer platforms than the global average.

Once again, Japan is at the far right of this chart, with the data revealing that the average internet user in the country has an account on fewer than 4 social media platforms, compared to a global average of more than 8.

However, despite using a smaller ‘portfolio’ of platforms, the levels of social media audience overlap in Japan are still pretty high.

Note that this particular chart doesn’t actually appear in our Digital 2021 Japan report, so these insights are a special bonus for today’s session.

And as you can see in the column titled “who use any other platform” on the left-hand side of this chart, less than 10 percent of the users of any given platform are unique to that platform, and for most platforms, that figure is closer to 1 percent.

So the key takeaway here is that marketers only need to be on 1 or 2 of the larger platforms in order to be able to reach the vast majority of Japan’s social media users.

That means you can make much more strategic decisions about whether or not to include other platforms in your mix, and if so, which ones to prioritise.

And to help inform that choice, let’s start by looking at the depth of engagement by platform.

We’ve already seen that Japanese people say they spend less time using social media than the global average, but that finding also comes through in App Annie’s app tracking data too.

Here are the worldwide figures for context, and as you can see, global LINE users typically spend an average of more than 10 hours a month using LINE, while YouTube users spend an average of more than 23 hours a month on YouTube.

However, despite being the platform’s top country, LINE users in Japan actually spend less time using the platform each month than the global average.

This is true across almost all social platforms, with the exception of Twitter.

It’s also interesting to note that the average user actually spends roughly an hour more using Twitter each month than they spend using LINE.

However, LINE has a greater number of overall users, which is why it appears higher up these rankings, which are based on total, cumulative time spent.

Another way to compare platforms is to look at audience demographics.

For example, more than half of LINE’s users are over the age of 40, while more than half of the combined audiences of Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger are under the age of 35.

Meanwhile, LINE’s user base matches the gender split in broader Japanese society, whereas women tend to over-index on Facebook’s platforms, especially when it comes to Instagram.

Twitter’s data paint quite a different picture when it comes to the gender split of its audience, but our qualitative analysis suggests that many Twitter users in Japan create a special ‘avatar’ – or online personality – specifically for Twitter use.

So, while the gender split you can see on the chart here is broadly in line with Twitter’s global audience trends, I’d avoid putting too much emphasis on the platform’s demographic figures for Japan.

But this widespread use of avatars offers a particularly interesting insight when it comes to Japanese people’s broader use of social media.

Indeed, at a worldwide level, GWI’s data shows that Japanese people are the most likely to agree with the statement, “I prefer to remain anonymous online.”

However, this desire for online anonymity doesn’t appear to be driven by concerns about privacy.

For example, as you can see on this next chart, GWI’s data also shows that Japan falls below the global average when it comes to concerns about how companies use their personal data.

And the desire for anonymity doesn’t appear to be driven by frustrations related to targeted advertising either, with Japanese people significantly less likely to use ad-blocking tools than users at a worldwide level.

But perhaps the most important data you’ll want to look at when selecting social media channels relates to people’s underlying motivations for using social media in the first place.

And once again, Japan’s priorities appear to be quite different to those we see elsewhere.

Note that you won’t find this chart in our new Japan report either – this is another exclusive for today’s session.

At a global level, “keeping in touch with friends and family” is by far the most common motivation for using social media, but in Japan, that ranks second, behind “filling up spare time”.

Perhaps most strikingly though, you’ll notice that the Japanese values for all these motivations are significantly lower than the global averages.

And that tells us that people in Japan selected far fewer options in this multiple-choice question compared to their global peers.

The data also reveals that very few people in Japan use social media for work purposes.

At a global level, more than 4 in 10 internet users say they use social media to help them network for work, to follow work contacts, or to follow inspirational business people, but this figure drops to just 1 in 6 in Japan.

This may be one of the reasons why LinkedIn sees such low levels of use in Japan, especially amongst women.

So, even this quick look at social media trends reveals just how different Japan’s digital landscape can be.

But a similar finding comes through in the ranking of the country’s top websites, too.

4. Japan’s most-visited websites

As you can see here, different analytics companies provide different assessments of Japanese web traffic, but there are some consistent findings across all three tables on this chart.

And the most important takeaway is the continued importance of Yahoo! in Japan’s digital ecosystem.

This probably won’t come as a shock to anybody who’s spent any time in Japan, but for international audiences, it may come as a surprise.

It’s also interesting to note that ecommerce makes a strong showing in all three lists, with Amazon and Rakuten both making the top 10.

And we’ll come back to look at ecommerce in more detail a bit later.

But at this point, it might be worth putting these website rankings in perspective, by taking a look at Japanese internet users’ top motivations for going online.

And as you can see here, nearly 4 in 5 users say that “finding information” is a primary reason for accessing the internet, which is considerably higher than the global average of 63 percent.

Japanese internet users also over-index when it comes to “keeping up to date with news and events”, which may help in part to explain why Yahoo! sees such high traffic in the country.

Another area where Japanese users over index is “filling up spare time and general browsing,” which offers some insight into why manga platforms like Sheowsettu and Pixiv rank so highly in Semrush’s data.

And just for context, both “manga” and “anime” also appear in the list of 20 most popular Google searches in Japan over the past year.

However, it’s worth noting that Japanese users significantly under-index when it comes to using the internet to stay in touch with friends and family.

This motivation is the second-top choice at a global level, but it only ranks eighth amongst Japanese users.

And this may help to explain why social media behaviours are so different in Japan compared to the rest of the world.

But with “finding information” clearly the top motivation, let’s take a look at some important trends in online search behaviours.


5. Online search behaviours

At a global level, 98 percent of internet users still use conventional search engines like Google each month, but the latest data show that more than 7 in 10 global internet users now go beyond these text-based search environments too.

Interestingly, however, while conventional search engines remain hugely popular in Japan, the country’s internet users have been much slower to adopt new search tools and behaviours. 

Voice search is the top alternative to text-based search at a global level, with nearly half of all the world’s internet users saying that they’ve used voice interfaces like the Google Assistant or Siri in the past month.

However, as you can see here, Japan ranks dead last when it comes to use of these voice interfaces.

And my hypothesis is that this is largely driven by the importance that Japanese people place on courtesy and consideration for others.

For example, speaking on the phone on public transport is still a major faux-pas in Japan, and signs encouraging people to put their phone on silent – or “manner mode” – are ubiquitous in the country’s public spaces.

However, at a global level, voice interfaces are likely to become increasingly common, especially as we move from screen-based devices to devices with more ‘integrated’ displays such as smart glasses.

And for context, there’s broad consensus that Apple will be releasing a smart spectacles product sometime in the next year or so.

These new devices will likely make use of image recognition tech too, but – once again – Japanese people have been much slower to embrace these tools as well.

Just for clarity, image recognition tools allow people to use a photo or an image as their search query – popular examples include Google Lens and Pinterest Lens.

These tools have become particularly popular across Latin America, but their use is also widespread across Southeast Asia.

However, one of the most interesting aspects of this trend is that it’s largely driven by younger users.

And most of the countries on the right-hand side of this chart – where adoption of these tools remain lowest – are characterised by populations with a relatively high median age.

For reference, while image recognition tools have a wide variety of potential uses, they’re particularly powerful when it comes to ecommerce, enabling people to search for a specific product even if they don’t know what it is, or how to describe it.

So, with online shopping already very popular in Japan, it’ll be interesting to see whether any of the local platforms start to push image recognition tools over the coming months.

But Japan also sees low adoption of social search behaviours.

More than 4 in 10 internet users around the world now say they visit social networks as a primary destination when looking for information about brands and products they’re interested in buying, but this figure drops to just 26 percent in Japan.

This may be because the social platforms that are most popular in Japan – notably LINE and Twitter – aren’t ideally suited to search, but as we saw in the data for image recognition tools, median age also plays a part in shaping these global rankings. 

With each of these new search tools and behaviours gaining momentum around the rest of the world, it’s likely that search-related marketing practices will evolve quite quickly over the coming months, especially across the developing world, where these technologies are most popular.

However, if adoption of these tools and behaviours remains low in Japan, we may see yet another case where Japan’s digital trends head in a different direction to those we’ll see in the rest of the world.

As a result, it’s critically important for Japanese marketers to pay close attention to what’s happening in their home market, and not get overly distracted by global trends that have less immediate relevance for the audiences they hope to reach and engage.

Having said that though, it’s also important for local marketers to look outside of Japan on a regular basis, to see how global trends are evolving, and to identify new tools and behaviours that may disrupt their activities.

But while we’re on the subject of search behaviours, it’s worth highlighting that more than 80 percent of Japan’s internet users say they searched online for a product or service to buy in the past 30 days.

And what’s more, 85 percent of the country’s internet users say that they visited an online retail store in the past month, so let’s take a closer look at the important trends in Japan’s ecommerce behaviours.

6. Online shopping in Japan

As we saw earlier, ecommerce platforms are some of the most popular online destinations in Japan, with both Amazon and Rakuten ranking in the country’s top 10 most-visited websites.

Now, for comparison, Japan ranks slightly below the global average when it comes to the percentage of internet users making online purchases.

The numbers are still encouraging though, with roughly three-quarters of the country’s netizens saying that they bought something online in the past month.

However, I was surprised to discover that younger people in Japan are actually less likely to shop online, with fewer than two-thirds of Japanese internet users aged 16 to 24 saying that they made an online purchase in the past 30 days, compared to more than three-quarters of internet users aged 35 and above.

It’s also particularly interesting to look at the device splits for online shopping activities in Japan.

Despite being a pioneer in mobile internet use, the country now ranks second-to-last in GWI’s rankings when it comes to checking out on mobile devices.

And it’s clear from this next chart that Japan’s internet users are still far more comfortable shopping on a laptop or desktop computer than they are shopping on a smartphone.

Once again, I suspect that age plays an important role here, with the global data showing that people over the age of 50 are significantly less likely to check out on a mobile device.

This may simply be down to the fact that older people have been online for longer, so are more familiar with computers than smartphones.

However, screen size may also be an important consideration, especially when it comes to the size of text on a smartphone screen, and how fiddly smartphone keypads can be.

And for reference, Japan also ranks well below the global average when it comes to mobile’s share of overall web traffic, with data from Statcounter showing that Japan’s internet users are still more likely to use a laptop or desktop computer to access the web than they are to use a mobile phone.

These device preferences have particularly important implications for marketers, who need to ensure that they cater to the specific needs and preferences of their users and audiences.

Returning to the ecommerce data though, it’s encouraging to note that Japan ranks well above the global average when it comes to how much money people spend online, with the typical Japanese ecommerce user now spending more than 1,000 U.S. dollars per year on consumer goods alone – that’s more than 100,000 Japanese yen.

The travel and accommodation category still accounts for the largest share of online spend in Japan, but it’s particularly interesting to note that food and personal care items now rank second in Statista’s analysis of the country’s online spending habits.

Grocery also saw the fastest growth in online spend in Japan last year, with the annual value of category transactions increasing by more than 30 percent.

And with the exception of travel – which was badly hit by the Coronavirus pandemic – all ecommerce categories saw strong, double-digit growth in Japan over the course of 2020.

But the fast pace of growth in the grocery category suggests that there may be even more good news on the way for Japan’s online retailers.

We’ve been tracking trends in ecommerce spend for a few years now, and our analysis suggests that an increase in online grocery shopping often precedes a broader increase in overall ecommerce activity.

And our hypothesis is that this is due to the frequency with which people make grocery purchases.

Many households around the world buy groceries on a weekly basis, which makes it one of the highest-touch categories in retail.

This high frequency results in greater familiarity, and – provided those regular experiences remain favourable – this in turn can lead to greater confidence in online shopping as a whole, and ensure that ecommerce channels remain top of mind for a variety of category purchases.

So, while I very much hope that the world will escape the devastation of COVID very soon, I think that the pandemic’s impact on online shopping behaviours will endure, even after everyday life returns to normal.

But those enduring impacts shouldn’t be limited to ecommerce; our analysis suggests they may have an equally important influence on online entertainment activities as well.

7. Online entertainment

As we saw earlier, entertainment is one of the top reasons why Japanese people go online.

However, once again, Japan places last in the global ranking when it comes to watching online video.

More than three quarters of internet users aged 16 to 64 in Japan say that they’ve used an online service to access video or TV content in the past 30 days, but that’s still significantly below the global average of 93 percent.

Japanese people also say they spend far less time watching online streaming platforms than the global average.

At a worldwide level, GWI reports that streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ now account for more than 42 percent of our total TV viewing time.

However, the figures for Japan are starkly different, with streaming services accounting for just 1 in 7 of the minutes that Japanese internet users say they spend watching TV each day.

And Japanese people are also significantly less likely than their global peers to pay for digital content.

Fewer than half of all Japanese internet users say that they’ve paid for any form of digital content in the past month, and although streaming services are in fact the most popular form of paid digital content in the country, less than 1 in 5 Japanese internet users say they pay for a movie or TV streaming service.

I was quite surprised by these findings though, and I suspect that we’ll see some meaningful increases in the use of TV streaming platforms in Japan over the coming months, especially amongst younger audiences.

But I was equally surprised to learn that Japanese internet users under-index when it comes to playing video games.

Adoption rates are still impressive at almost 75 percent, but that’s well below the global average of 87 percent.

And once again, it seems that the key factor here is the median age of the Japanese population.

However, more than half of the internet users in Japan aged 55 to 64 play video games, so – despite this being lower than the global average – video games still represent a compelling opportunity for marketers in Japan.

It’s also worth noting that Japan’s gamers use a wide variety of different devices, and while smartphones are still the most popular gaming device, Japan does have a relatively high incidence of console ownership.

But while we’re on the subject of marketing opportunities, let’s take a quick look at which channels have the greatest influence on Japanese audiences.


8. Digital channels for marketers

Respondents to GWI’s survey in Japan say that search engines are their primary source of new brand and product discovery, well ahead of ads on TV.

The top two channels on the chart here echo global trends, but the rest of the top 10 looks quite different in Japan compared to the rest of the world.

For example, “word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family” come third in the global rankings, but only make eighth place in Japan.

Similarly, “ads on social media” come in fourth in the global rankings, but they don’t even make the top 10 channels for brand discovery in Japan.

Conversely, compared to global audiences, many more people in Japan say they discover new brands and products through placements or mentions in TV shows and films.

However, it is worth noting that online channels account for 6 of Japan’s top 10, and with more than 40 percent of Japanese internet users saying they discover new brands and products through search engines, it’s clear that digital channels should be a central part of most brands’ marketing mix.

But despite the important role that search engines play in new product discovery, I was surprised to learn that Japanese people are actually less likely than their global peers to conduct online product research before buying a product.

However, more than half of Japan’s internet users still research products and services online before making a purchase, so this is still an important consideration for marketers.

Once again, search engines are a primary channel for research in Japan, with an impressive 60 percent of internet users saying they use these tools as a primary source of information when researching brands and products they’re thinking of buying.

However, as we saw earlier, Japanese internet users are significantly less likely to turn to social media when looking for information about brands and products.

On the other hand, Japan’s internet users are considerably more likely to use price comparison websites, while brand and product websites remain an important source of information too.

Indeed, nearly two-thirds of Japanese internet users aged 16 to 64 say that they’ve visited a brand’s website in the past month, making it by far the most popular form of online brand interaction.

Japanese users are actually considerably more likely to visit brand websites than their global peers, while they under-index for pretty much every other form of online interaction.

However, it’s particularly interesting to note that Japanese users are just as likely to read a brand’s blog as they are to watch a branded video.

Online video falls surprisingly far down the rankings in Japan, despite being the second most common form of online brand interaction at a global level.

That doesn’t mean that branded videos don’t represent a good opportunity in Japan, but marketers should expect to see a marked difference in performance in Japan compared to other countries.

And it’s also worth highlighting that barely 1 in 20 internet users in Japan says that they click on ads on social networks, which is more than 3 times lower than the global average.

That may be partly due to Japan’s unique platform preferences, but marketers reporting to global managers may want to use these findings to set expectations and justify different approaches.

But what broader implications will all of these findings have for you?

Well, the good news is that we’ve got an esteemed panel of experts here with us today to help us make sense of all these trends, and they’ll be sharing their insights as part of our panel discussion and Q&A in just a moment.

Wrapping up

Just before we kick that off though, here’s a quick recap of everything I’ve covered in my presentation, to remind you of any questions that you haven’t already shared with us.

You can keep sharing your questions during the panel though – just pop them into that chat on the right-hand side of your screen, and we’ll do our best to answer as many of them as we can before the end of today’s session.

Just in case we don’t get a chance to answer your question today though, please feel free to send me your questions on social media instead – you’ll find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Clubhouse as @eskimon.

And please do get in touch with me if you’d like to know more about our private briefings too.

Thanks again for joining us today – I really appreciate your time.

But with that, let’s open up our panel discussion.

[Click here if you’d like to watch a recording of the subsequent panel session]


Slides from Simon’s presentation

You’ll find all of the slides from Simon’s presentation in the SlideShare embed below (click here if that’s not working for you).

You can also find all of our latest reports and insights for Japan by clicking here.

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