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Japan’s ecommerce market set to grow by 6.9% this year: study 

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Japan’s ecommerce market will grow by 6.9% this year to $194.3bn, new analysis suggests. That is likely to mean the world’s four ecommerce market leaders stay unchanged, with Japan in fourth place after China, the US, and the UK, Global Data research suggests. 

GlobalData research predicts that Japanese shoppers will spend JPY22.4 trillion ($194.3bn) this year, representing a step up in the pace in which the market is adopting online shopping.

Research from the data and analytics company found that ecommerce sales in Japan grew by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) or 5.2% between 2018 and 2021, reaching JPY20.9tn ($181.7bn) in 2021. 

This year the pace of change has stepped up, the study found. It cites official Japanese figures that suggest more than 50% of households with at least two members bought online in July 2022. Online spending rose by 17.2% that month, compared to the monthly average in 2021, according to the Survey of Household Economy from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. 

Nearly 70% of the Japanese shoppers questioned in GlobalData’s 2022 Financial Services Consumer Survey said they had shopped online in the past month. Only 8% said they never bought online. The study questioned about 50,000 adults in the first and second quarters of this year in 40 countries.

Ravi Sharma, banking and payments lead analyst at GlobalData, says: “The Japan ecommerce market has registered sustainable growth over the last five years supported by high mobile and online penetration and high consumer preference for online transactions. Consumers are increasingly shifting from in-store to online purchases, with ecommerce being one of the few areas that continued to register a positive growth even during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Well-established domestic players in the Japanese market include Rakuten and Mercari, although international arrivals such as Amazon and Yahoo are now gaining popularity with shoppers. 

The forecast means the line-up of leading ecommerce markets is likely to stay unchanged, according to GlobalData. It puts Japan fourth among international markets for ecommerce sales, after China (annual sales of $2.1tn) the US ($1.5tn) and the UK ($292.1bn). 

Sharma adds: “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought in a permanent shift in consumer buying behaviour pushing them towards online, a trend that is expected to continue. As a result, ecommerce sales will increase at a CAGR of 5.2% between 2022 and 2026 to reach JPY27.4 trillion ($237.8 billion) in 2026.”

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