Japan is one of the world’s largest e-commerce markets, characterized by the dominance of business-to-businesses (B2B) transactions, a growing focus on business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, and an emerging consumer-to-consumer (C2C) market. In particular, the B2C market has more than doubled in size within the last decade. As online stores are closing in on in-store retailers’ sales, businesses are shifting to a multi-channel approach to defend their market positions.
The country’s attractiveness for online retailers derives from its highly developed economy, primarily urban population, and almost nationwide access to the internet . Easy delivery and convenience are provided by a strong, service-oriented business philosophy in combination with Japan’s small country size and advanced infrastructure.

Online retailers

The Japanese e-commerce landscape maintains a highly sophisticated shopping environment with a variety of trusted, domestic online retail sites. Therefore, cross-border e-commerce imports are significantly lower.
The B2C e-commerce market is dominated by domestic online marketplaces , with Rakuten leading the ranking. However, local branches of major international e-commerce companies such as Amazon or Yahoo are greatly contributing to the rising popularity of online shopping among Japanese consumers. In the C2C segment, the mobile re-commerce application Mercari represents a successful business venture competing alongside the flea market and auction platforms of established B2C providers.

The slow shift online

Non-food products, such as travel services, fashion and beauty goods as well as consumer electronics account for the lion’s share of e-commerce spending in Japan . Since the busy lifestyle of many of the country’s citizens demands efficiency in both professional and private life, online grocery experiences, including smooth, tailor-made door-to-door delivery provided by highly developed distribution channels, are emerging. Large companies such as Aeon, Ito Yokado, and Seiyu are among the most well-known supermarkets offering their services online .
Nonetheless, Japanese consumers are reluctant to fully shift their purchases online. Physical stores remain the preferred procurement channels for daily necessities, in particular for foodstuff .

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 35 most important statistics relating to "E-commerce in Japan".


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