The Market at Large
Japan is the second largest economy in Asia and the third largest in the world; it is an economically mature market that values high-quality goods, reliability, a sense of tradition, and impeccable customer service. Consumers have a relatively high level of disposable income and Japan boasts the second highest number of millionaires in the world at 2.5 million.
37.8 million of the 127 million people living in Japan reside in Tokyo, the world’s largest metropolitan area. It serves as the center of business for the entire country. Though the Japanese Government continuously attempts to push its policy to have firms depart from Tokyo to other regions, less than 25% of the population live in rural areas and there are unlikely to be any changes that will result in movement. Three big reasons behind this policy are the aging population, low birthrate, and long life expectancy; 25% of the population is currently over 65 and this percentage is forecasted to reach 40% by 2060.
Strong Internet Infrastructure and Promising Mobile Growth
Japan has one of the world’s best Internet infrastructures. 86.2% of the population has access to the second fastest Internet on earth (an average of 11.6 mbps in 2013). 25.53 million households even have access to ultra-high speed fiber (Fiber-to-the-Home) Internet connections.
Japan is also a mobile giant. 98.5% have access to mobile phones or smartphones. Smartphones have been slow to spread in comparison to other developed countries due to the highly advanced infrastructure for mobile phones; however, they are becoming more and more prevalent as technology advances and becomes more affordable.
More than half of the population owned smartphones in 2014, and 46.41 million of them had access to LTE or 4G mobile Internet connections. Even with a lower proliferation rate compared to other markets, it is important to note that Japan, which is roughly a third of the U.S. population, was outspending the
U.S. by 10% on apps from Google Play and Apple’s App Store. The importance of smartphone-responsive websites will only continue to increase as more and more Japanese use them as their main way of interacting with the Internet.