The Internet in Japan Today: 5 Quick Facts

November 14, 2018

Here is a quick, high-level look at what is happening in Japan online:

1. Internet Penetration

A recent report by ITU (International Telecommunication Union) shows that 93.3% of Japan's population (127 million) access the internet. Further growth will slow as practically everyone already has internet access. Usage levels is where growth will see continued increases, especially for mobile.


Cisco expects "in 2020, the gigabyte equivalent of all movies ever made will cross the internet every 43 minutes in Japan."


2. Top Search Engines

As of August 2018, Google's share of Japan's search market was 72%. They have been by far the leader in Japan and still have an upward trend slowly siphoning users from Yahoo! (23%) and Bing (under 4%). Yahoo! Japan is a popular site for many purposes in Japan, but for search, Google is the leader.


3. Mobile Usage

eMarketer reports that smartphone usage is at about 56% of the Japanese population and will increase about one percentage point per year for the next few years. While Japanese consumers have always liked new technology, they lag behind some other countries in Asia in smartphone penetration. For example, mobile usage is above 75% in Singapore and South Korea.


The reason given by the report is that the Japanese population is older on average and not as interested in smartphones and their applications as a typical customer is in the other countries in Asia. Cost is also a reason as it is more expensive for data plans and smartphones in Japan than the other Asian markets.


4. Ecommerce

The leading ecommerce shopping platforms in Japan currently are Amazon (20%), Yahoo! Japan (9%) and Rakuten (20%). Amazon has made a large investment in Japan in recent years where only two years ago Rakuten was the clear leader. Now, Amazon has slightly taken the lead.


5. Online Payments

Online businesses widely accept credit cards and it is the most common method for payment. But other methods are also quite popular, like cash on delivery, payment at a convenience store and bank transfers. To a much smaller degree, some payments for online purchases may be as a billing add-on via an internet provider, eMoney, a check or other methods.

Further Resources on Global Business


Globalization Partners International (GPI) has extensive experience localizing marketing materials, technical documents, and large, scalable websites. We have previously posted a number of useful guides for best practices in this area. Feel free to review our blogs that are particularly relevant:



Please feel free to contact GPI at with any questions about our language and technology services. Also let us know if you have any interesting blog topics you would like us to cover in our future blogs. You may request a complimentary Translation Quote for your projects.



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Peter has over 20 years’ experience in business development within the localization industry supporting clients for documentation, software and website globalization services. He started his career in the translation industry in 1995 and over the years has worked for several leading localization service providers including LMI, Berlitz, Welocalize, GPI and Beyondsoft. Throughout his career Peter has led by example and always put his clients’ needs first to ensure client expectations are understood and successfully met. Over the years Peter has trained extensively in Solution Selling, Action Selling and Localization Sales, Testing and Project Management. Peter handles many of GPI’s global accounts helping educate clients on GPI’s comprehensive suite of globalization services and industry best practices.