Most popular social networks in Japan 2018, ranked by reach

When it comes to audience reach, the messaging app Line reigns supreme among social network users in Japan. While globally leading networks such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook do get their fair share of popularity within the Japanese social media market, Line’s audience reach is on average more than twice as high as those of other platforms, peaking at approximately 80 million monthly actives users in Japan during the first quarter of 2019.

What makes Line so popular?

The success story of messaging service Line, a Japanese subsidiary of South Korean internet powerhouse Naver, started back in 2011 during the Great East Japan Earthquake. While most conventional communication channels had broken down due to power failures, official sources as well as private individuals turned to online options for communicating news and confirming the safety of friends and family members. The app was released for public use later that year, appealing greatly to Japanese consumers due to its unique and customizable design, allowing both private and business usage simultaneously. Line’s annual revenue rose from under seven billion Japanese yen in fiscal year 2012 to over 207 billion yen in fiscal 2018, laying down the company’s major success in numbers.

How do Japanese use social networks?

Compared to its neighboring countries, the Japanese market has a relatively low social network penetration rate of only 61 percent, being noticeably outpaced by Taiwan with 89 and South Korea with 85 percent audience reach. As of January 2019, internet users in Japan spent an average of 4.8 hours per day consuming digital content, with young Japanese aged 18 to 34 using up to six hours of their time every day for online media consumption, including social networks. Leading reasons for using social media among younger generations are the convenience of gathering and sharing information, as well as connecting with friends and colleagues.

Most popular social networks in Japan as of November 2018, ranked by audience reach

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Release date

December 2018



Survey time period

November 2018

Number of respondents

4,022 respondents

Method of interview

Online survey

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Statistics on "Internet usage in Japan"

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