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YouTube’s user trends in Japan 2020


Number of YouTube users 

YouTube is widely used in Japan, with about 63 million monthly users, or in other words, half the population. And its popularity is growing. Unlike in English speaking countries, TV celebrities have only just started their own YouTube channels. Their inclusion should see its popularity increase even more.


Demographics of active users

Although the volume of users has stayed fairly static in recent years, YouTube has grown to be the second most popular social platform behind LINE (in terms of monthly reach and app usage). This is strongest on smartphones which accounts for 61% of all users.

This is due to improvements in cellular mobile connection (4G) and the introduction of unlimited data plans from providers. In fact, video viewing time on smartphones has grown by four times in the past five years.

Breaking down users by age group: those in their 40s are at 23%, followed by 50s at 19.6%, 30s at 17.8%, 60s at 17%, 20s at 15% and teens (17+) at 7.5%. This is a near-perfect percentage representation of the Japanese population overall. The ratio of men to women was about the same for all ages.

In recent years, the rate of smartphone use among people in their 50s and 60s has been rising and the number of users is expected to increase when 5G is used nationwide.


Unique features of YouTube

According to a 2019 marketing survey of 500 people nationwide looking at their social media usages such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and others – YouTube (30%) was the highest percentage of people who said it motivated them to purchase a product. When looking at product posts on social platforms, the people in the survey said that the most motivating items were “detailed reviews”. This is not so easy with text and static images as users lose interest quickly. On the other side of the fence, video can offer a large and detailed amount of information whilst holding the viewer’s attention. This is why YouTube is crucial in motivating people to purchase products.

In another survey, 32% of people said they had watched a bumper ad on YouTube (a six-second ad you can’t skip). Of these, 25.2% had then gone on to search for the product or service and 23.2% had visited the site from which the ad was on. 4% say they sometimes have a bad impression of the brand. 

Especially for the young generation, YouTube offers a media alternative to television. When looking at the evidence available, it is likely that this trend will continue to rise. Understanding this is essential when entering or working with the Japanese market. 

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