LINE: number of monthly active users in Japan 2013-2019

Messaging app LINE is Japan’s most popular online communication tool, peaking at approximately 83 million monthly actives users in Japan during the fourth quarter of 2019. LINE’s main target group are young adults aged 15 to 34 years, representing more than 50 percent of the company’s Japanese user base in 2018.

The rise of LINE in Japan

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 turned to online options for communicating news and confirming the safety of the country’s residents. 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 227 billion yen in fiscal year 2019, emphasizing the company’s major success since its first launch less than ten years earlier.

Social media usage in Japan

Compared to its neighboring countries, the Japanese market had a relatively low social network penetration rate of only 65 percent as of January 2020, being noticeably outpaced by Taiwan with 88 percent and South Korea with 87 percent audience reach. While globally leading networks do get their fair share of popularity within the Japanese social media market, in 2018, LINE's audience reach was almost twice as high as those of internationally successful apps such as Twitter or Instagram.

Number of monthly active LINE users in Japan from 1st quarter 2013 to 4th quarter 2019

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Release date

January 2020



Survey time period

1st quarter 2013 to 4th quarter 2019

Supplementary notes

Data prior to Q4 2019 come from previous reporting.

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