Japan’s ageing population and the market opportunity
Like most countries, digital marketing is fundamental for promoting your services and products to the Japanese market. But the content should be localised before delivering your brand message on different platforms. To do this effectively one needs to fully understand the nuances of the Japanese market.
To begin with, you need to know the demographic structure of Japan. The population pyramid below is as of 2019. As you can see, Japan has shifted to an ageing society when compared with the rest of the world.
This is the initial difference from the rest of the world. But on which platforms does such a population consume content? Please see below for the 4 most important media types and an explanation on the market opportunity for companies looking to market themselves in Japan.
Social media in Japan
With social media platform popularity, there are trends in Japan that are different from those in Europe and the United States. First of all, the use of Twitter is overwhelmingly large compared to the population. Secondarily, much less people use LinkedIn (although LinkedIn usage is growing in Japan). These disparities are due to the fact that, in Japan, there is no boundary between the private and business.
Monthly active users in Japan: 45 million (October 2017)
- 2nd highest worldwide and only below the United States (68 million).
- Popular among the people in their 20s. The average age of users is around 35 years old.
- The influence is strong: according to Starngage, 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference.
Monthly active users: 28 million (September 2017)
- Popular among the people in their 30s and 40s, particularly Men in their 40s.
- The increase rate of users has plateaued.
- In Japan, the majority of people use Facebook for business (not LinkedIn).
Monthly active users: 33 million (March 2019)
- The highest user growth rate in Japan among social media platforms
- Popular among the people in their 20s and 30s, especially women in their thirties.
- It is an opportunity of purchasing.
Number of registered users: 2 million (2019)
- The number of registered users in Japan is still small
- Facebook is used for business networking, although LinkedIn usage is expected to increase in the future
- Global business people often use it: according to Business Insider Intelligence global users is now over 500 million.
Number of users: 62 million (December 2017)
- 80% of internet users watch Youtube
- The most frequent use is from teenagers and twenties
- About 90% of young people watch on smartphones only
Message app in Japan
In Japan, LINE has almost monopolised messaging app share. Companies can also have accounts and can push notifications to fans. It also delivers news and is a great content delivery platform.
Monthly active users: 80 million (December 2018)
- Similar app to WhatsApp
- Create a company account, you can also push notifications of content
- It is used by many generations evenly from the teens to the 60s
Blog in Japan
In Japan, many people use blogs. One of the biggest blog platforms, Ameba allows you to easily start a blog. The sharable blogs like note and Hatena with friendly UI are also gaining popularity.
Monthly active users: 10 million (2019)
- A platform with blog and social media function. Similar to Medium.
- Blog platform for any creators
- One of Japan’s first and most active platforms
Number of registrants: 62 million (2018)
- One of the long-established blogs in Japan
- 16,000 celebrities use this blog service
- Popularity is on the downside, but still earns big traffic
The number of users: 6.7 million people (2018)
- Mainly used by men in their 30s
- Many users of IT / engineer positions
- Content is easily shareable
Portal site in Japan
For search engines, Google and Yahoo! Japan dominate. However, Yahoo! Japan also uses Google’s search engine, so Google practically has a monopoly. Yahoo! Japan is one of the largest portal sites in Japan and is considered to be the website with the highest advertising value.
Monthly number of users: 67 million
- Japan’s largest search engine
- The market share as a search engine is about 75%
Monthly number of users: 67 million
- Japan’s largest portal site
- Market share as a search engine is 20%
- Curate news on the top page
As detailed above, the following is clearly true. If you are marketing your product or service to the Japanese market, it is important to first understand how people in Japan consume media before you can localise your content in the country, deliver the right brand message, and be successful.