What are Japanese consumers shopping online?Online shopping plays a major role in integrating Japanese consumers into a digital economy and digitalizing business processes in a retail environment in which legacy systems prevail. As e-commerce businesses are increasing their product and service availability, shoppers can meet their daily needs through a wide range of platforms. But the trend in the B2C e-commerce ratio of physical consumer goods reveals a split in shopping preferences. While the retail of physical media and consumer electronics shows a significant shift towards online distribution, groceries like food and beverages are preferably purchased offline. Even though food items make up the largest expense item of Japanese households’ online expenditure, the transactions equate less than four percent of the food retail sector.
Similarly, C2C e-commerce is carried by durable and semi-durable goods of the secondhand goods markets. The relocation of flea markets from parking areas and temple grounds to the virtual space opened new opportunities for consumers to resell and buy used items like media, fashion, and leisure goods. The marketplaces attract consumers with varying interests ranging from collectors looking for limited edition goods over economical shoppers to practitioners of sustainable lifestyles.
Digital shopping trendsThe Japanese e-commerce market is governed by a continuous influx of media and consumer trends that shape the development of shopping services. Set in a service industry in which customer satisfaction is at the center of business operations, online stores are continuously expanding their services to cater to consumer demand. The mobile commerce market received a boost amid a growing focus on the development of applications optimized for a simplified shopping process on devices like smartphones and tablets on the go.
E-commerce formats emerging in overseas markets like live commerce and social commerce take convenience a step further. By combining social platforms with shopping functionalities, the retail format aims at trimming the customer journey from discovery to checkout to a single platform. However, the shopping integrations are only starting to roll out, and consumer opinion on the shopping experience reveals that much needs improvement.