The Japanese e-commerce landscape is dominated by domestic online stores, such as Rakuten or Kakaku. However, local branches of major international e-commerce retailers like Amazon or Yahoo are greatly contributing to the rising popularity of online shopping among Japanese consumers.
The country maintains a highly sophisticated shopping environment with a variety of trusted, domestic online retail sites. Therefore, cross-border e-commerce imports are significantly lower. According to a survey, only about six percent of Japanese respondents participated in cross-border shopping in 2018. Despite the apparent hesitance towards ordering from overseas retailers, cross-border imports are estimated to consistently rise over the course of the next four years. Based on data provided by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, e-commerce imports from China and the United States to Japan will reach a market value of almost 309 billion Japanese yen by 2021, up from 257 billion yen in 2017.
Non-food products, such as leisure goods, electronics and household items account for the lion’s share of online purchases in Japan. Since the busy lifestyle of many of the country’s citizens demands efficiency in both professional and private life, online grocery experiences, including smooth, tailor-made door-to-door delivery provided by highly developed distribution channels, are also growing in popularity. Large, domestic grocers, such as Aeon, Ito-Yokado or Seiyu, are listed among the most popular destinations for online food shopping. By 2020, the e-commerce food retail market is expected to reach 22 billion U.S. dollars in sales.