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Leading online retailers in Japan 2020

According to a survey conducted in Japan in May 2020, the most popular e-commerce site among consumers was Amazon, with 52 percent naming the American business as their main online shopping channel. The online marketplace of the Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten, Inc. followed in second place, with about one in four online shoppers ordering over Rakuten Ichiba.

E-commerce landscape

The growth in the Japanese e-commerce industry is spearheaded by the three large-scale online retailers Rakuten, Yahoo Japan, and Amazon, which generate sales exceeding one trillion Japanese yen. The three market leaders expanded their monthly active user bases by offering a range of products and services outside of business-to-consumer (B2C) commerce. This includes Rakuten’s internet banking services, Amazon’s video distribution services, and Yahoo’s auction platform.

A unicorn challenging the leaders

While the three major e-commerce companies are dominating the B2C market, consumer trends in the consumer-to-consumer (C2C) market are providing startups an opportunity to grow. By integrating simple user interfaces on smartphone applications, C2C platform operators provide consumers an efficient channel to sell second-hand goods. Successful companies, such as Mercari, Inc., emerged as popular alternatives to Rakuten’s and Yahoo’s marketplaces. The private venture entered the Japanese C2C market successfully through its mobile app Mercari, which recorded millions of monthly active users within the first years after its launch.

Most popular e-commerce sites* in Japan as of May 2020

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Release date

June 2020



Survey time period

May 13 to 18, 2020

Number of respondents

1,830 respondents

Age group

18-69 years

Special properties

respondents who are smartphone users

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

*Leading five general e-commerce services used as main online shopping channel.

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Statistics on "Rakuten"

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