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App usage in Japan - statistics and facts

Japan has a strong mobile app market. The spread of smartphones throughout the 2010s has made mobile internet use increasingly convenient, making it possible for Japan’s affluent consumers to utilize apps for a variety of purposes, such as entertainment, shopping, and banking. The most popular category of apps are messenger and social networking apps, which not only enable users to stay connected with friends and acquaintances despite busy schedules, but also constitute an important source of information. The most eminent social app is the messenger service LINE, which is operated by LINE Corporation and has become an integral part of people’s daily lives. LINE Corporation diversified its portfolio over the years and today offers a whole array of services, such as LINE Pay, LINE Manga, and LINE Music.

Attitudes towards apps

Mobile applications are used by a majority of Japanese smartphone users, but most prefer apps that can be downloaded for free. This is also true in the case of mobile games, which have become the most popular form of gaming in Japan. In the case of games, publishers generate revenues mainly via in-game purchases that allow users to engage with additional content. Another possibility of creating revenue streams is in-app advertising, which is readily employed by video-sharing apps and other media-related services. Mobile internet advertising is a large market in Japan and expected to continue its growth path in the coming years. Next to domestic companies, app developers targeting the Japanese market often hail from China, the US, or South Korea. Entering the Japanese app market remains a challenge especially for smaller foreign companies, as Japanese consumers are said to exhibit a high brand-consciousness. In addition, localization remains an important issue, as many Japanese are not fluent in foreign languages. A further issue is information security, which has become an important topic for Japanese consumers in recent years. In 2021, it was found that more than 1.7 million account holders were affected by a hack of the popular matchmaking app Omiai, which resulted in the leak of personal information such as driver licenses and passports.

Growth of online media

While the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020 had a negative effect on many businesses relying on a more direct interaction with customers, online services such as streaming and e-commerce profited. Japan in general has a large media industry, and the growth of online media content shows no sign of abating. An important factor in this regard is the technological infrastructure. Japan’s large mobile carriers, NTT Docomo, au by KDDI, and SoftBank, launched their 5G services in March 2020, with Rakuten following in September of the same year. As 5G will offer much better performances compared to earlier mobile standards, services such as live streaming are expected to profit from the widespread adoption of the new standard.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "App usage in Japan" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Mobile internet usage

Mobile devices

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 37 most important statistics relating to "App usage in Japan".

App usage in Japan

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App usage in Japan - statistics and facts

Japan has a strong mobile app market. The spread of smartphones throughout the 2010s has made mobile internet use increasingly convenient, making it possible for Japan’s affluent consumers to utilize apps for a variety of purposes, such as entertainment, shopping, and banking. The most popular category of apps are messenger and social networking apps, which not only enable users to stay connected with friends and acquaintances despite busy schedules, but also constitute an important source of information. The most eminent social app is the messenger service LINE, which is operated by LINE Corporation and has become an integral part of people’s daily lives. LINE Corporation diversified its portfolio over the years and today offers a whole array of services, such as LINE Pay, LINE Manga, and LINE Music.

Attitudes towards apps

Mobile applications are used by a majority of Japanese smartphone users, but most prefer apps that can be downloaded for free. This is also true in the case of mobile games, which have become the most popular form of gaming in Japan. In the case of games, publishers generate revenues mainly via in-game purchases that allow users to engage with additional content. Another possibility of creating revenue streams is in-app advertising, which is readily employed by video-sharing apps and other media-related services. Mobile internet advertising is a large market in Japan and expected to continue its growth path in the coming years. Next to domestic companies, app developers targeting the Japanese market often hail from China, the US, or South Korea. Entering the Japanese app market remains a challenge especially for smaller foreign companies, as Japanese consumers are said to exhibit a high brand-consciousness. In addition, localization remains an important issue, as many Japanese are not fluent in foreign languages. A further issue is information security, which has become an important topic for Japanese consumers in recent years. In 2021, it was found that more than 1.7 million account holders were affected by a hack of the popular matchmaking app Omiai, which resulted in the leak of personal information such as driver licenses and passports.

Growth of online media

While the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020 had a negative effect on many businesses relying on a more direct interaction with customers, online services such as streaming and e-commerce profited. Japan in general has a large media industry, and the growth of online media content shows no sign of abating. An important factor in this regard is the technological infrastructure. Japan’s large mobile carriers, NTT Docomo, au by KDDI, and SoftBank, launched their 5G services in March 2020, with Rakuten following in September of the same year. As 5G will offer much better performances compared to earlier mobile standards, services such as live streaming are expected to profit from the widespread adoption of the new standard.

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