Japan’s Best Ecommerce Platforms in 2022

Posted By Jim Kersey

An ecommerce platform can be judged on many different factors. As well as its general functionality and ease of use, aspects such as available fulfillment options, marketing features, upselling initiatives, audience demographics, and brand suitability also contribute significantly to a platform’s overall profile.

For merchants with a mind to enter or expand within the Japanese market, we evaluate the best ecommerce platforms in Japan for doing so — making this process of evaluation slightly easier as you navigate the country’s growing list of ecommerce websites.

To help inform your decision on which marketplace to choose, we also offer one of our most comprehensive overviews of the ecommerce sector, covering many of the things we believe should frame any localized ecommerce strategy.

Japan’s Best Ecommerce Platforms in 2022

TABEL OF Contents

  1. Overview of the Japanese Ecommerce Market in 2022
  2. Forecasted Ecommerce Growth
  3. What Types of Ecommerce Platforms Do Japanese Shoppers Enjoy?
  4. Japanese Ecommerce Users — Age Breakdown
  5. What Do Consumers Buy Online?
  6. Top Ecommerce Platforms in Japan
  7. Most Popular Japanese Flea Market/Auction Platforms In 2022
  8. The Outlook for Ecommerce Platforms in Japan – 2022 and Beyond
  9. The Impact of Covid-19 On Japanese Ecommerce
  10. More Sales Driven By Social Media
  11. More Payment Options
  12. How to Choose the Best Japanese Ecommerce Platform

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Overview of the Japanese Ecommerce Market in 2022

Yamato delivery truck fulfilling orders for best ecommerce in Japan 2022

There are a few things that stand out to any prospective merchant thinking about selling online in Japan. Among these is the sheer size of the country’s ecommerce market, ranking third largest in the world.

When we communicate with our client base from the US and Europe and consider their goals and vision for their Japanese operation, the nation’s population of high earners and significant purchasing power, coupled with the appetite for high quality or luxury brands, is often a huge motivator.

As well as a few fundamental data sets that will show you the nature of Japan’s ecommerce market, a few other key points that characterise the opportunities that exist here include:

  • The country has excellent logistics infrastructure with supply routes and efficient delivery services giving sellers access to thousands of households across the country’s major cities and beyond
  • Japan’s digital infrastructure is also highly developed and consumers are voracious consumers of online content (offering brands endless touchpoints for capturing audience attention, albeit within an extremely complex and competitive landscape of channels)
  • Success in Japan is an important stepping stone for wider success in the APAC region, which is evidenced by the expansion sequence of many international brands and businesses.
  • Preference for online shopping, while lagging behind many other developed nations and below the global average, is steadily growing (currently measured at 47% (online) vs. 54% (In-person) by GWI.


Forecasted Ecommerce Growth

*Tap or Hover on the graph below to see details.

Source: Statista

Key Drivers of Online Purchases in 2022

Platform feature % who are most likely to buy a product online due to the following
Free delivery options 69%
Coupons 53%
Reviews 29%

Source: GWI

What Types of Ecommerce Platforms Do Japanese Shoppers Enjoy?

As well as traditional marketplaces (or online shopping malls) Japanese customers also enjoy shopping in several other online spaces too.

Shopping Malls (Amazon, Rakuten etc.) 94.2%
Manufacturer’s Brand Websites 40.9%
Home Electronic Stores 33.1%
Online Auction Sites 27.3%
Flea Market Websites and Applications 24.9%
Supermarkets 11.4%
Retails Stores 11.3%
Department Stores 7.9%
Convenience Stores 5.6%
None of the Above 3.1%

Source: Statista

If you want to learn more about Japanese consumer preferences, consider reading our post: Marketing in Japan? 10 Important things You Need to Know About Japanese Consumers

Japanese Ecommerce Users — Age Breakdown

Different age demographics using best ecommerce in Japan in 2022

Older Japanese people naturally hold more disposable income due to the way seniority and workplace promotions are more often rewarded based on time dedicated to a company (rather than simply because of performance and competence as is common in many other nations), making Japan’s age breakdown an incredibly important factor for brands hoping to tap into the Japanese market.

HB Pro Tip: You must be cautious when targeting only younger consumers with expensive products. Many international brands have been forced to adjust their target demographics heavily to give their operations in Japan more viability, such as making innovative and modern products appeal to older users as well.

Age Market Share
18-24 11.4%
25-34 18.9%
35-44 23.6%
45-54 25.6%
55-64 20.5%

Source: Statista

What Do Consumers Buy Online?

Product Type % of Shoppers
Groceries 31
Electronics 24
Beauty & personal care 19
Clothing/shoes 18
Household products 14
Luxury 12
Alcohol 10
Home & furniture 10
Medicine & healthcare 9
Financial products 9

Source: GWI

Top Ecommerce Platforms in Japan

*Tap or Hover on the graph below to see details.

Source: Statista

1. Amazon Japan

Amazon homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2022

Amazon Japan is our recommended platform of choice for brands that are entering the Japanese market for the first time. As well as having the largest share of the market, it is also the easiest to navigate for companies that don’t have much Japanese language capabilities, which are needed to truly maximize your potential on many of the other options in this list.

This platform also gives business a sense of security through the familiar interface of the Amazon brand, as well as overall UX. Much of the terminology surrounding processes and features is the same, which makes it much easier to use your existing knowledge about the platform to find success in Japan.

Combined with the general support the platform provides in the way of fulfillment and customer services support, it is a no-brainer for many businesses making their first steps in a complex market like Japan where keeping things simple in as many ways as possible is prudent.

Our caveat to all this would be that just because Amazon is easier to use and offers the best go-to option for Westerners, this doesn’t make it the best ecommerce platform in Japan for your specific brand or products (more on this later).

Traffic Data

Country Traffic Rank 6
Global Traffic Rank 42
Total Visits 641M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 2

*Data sourced from SimilarWeb’s January 2022 domain overview

Key Features

Amazon hub kiosk for best ecommerce in Japan 2022

  • Advanced paid advertising options including Amazon Sponsored Products (ASP) to help drive greater traffic and sales
  • A reliable Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) option that most merchants will already be familiar with, offering customer service support in Japanese.Options for gift wrapping to help brands capitalize on holiday periods and events where online purchasing spikes
  • The Amazon Points loyalty system that incentivises customers to keep coming back

HB Pro Tip: Using Amazon Japan, you may find yourself in a bidding war when appearing alongside competitors in search results. This requires you to have a strong brand that will entice users despite your higher price tag. Going lower in price is also an option, but be careful your pricing strategy doesn’t cut into your profits — local sipping and storage costs can quickly add up.

2. Rakuten

Rakuten homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2022

Many international brands rule out Rakuten as a platform they are willing to sell on in Japan. Among the top reasons for this is the lack of support with inventory management, store creation and customer services, as the pressures it places on businesses who don’t already have a presence in Japan.

New sellers must design and build their very own virtual store within the Rakuten ecosystem. And while their products will appear on search results featuring keywords and phrases related to your brand and stock, this dedicated hub for your brand is where users can learn more about you and browse your entire catalogue of items. The two main challenges of this are:

  • You will need to invest in the design and development of your virtual store. Unpolished or amateur-looking stores will face lower conversions and potential damage to brand credibility
  • Brands with lower brand recognition will find it harder to win over Japanese customers who have a preference for domestic brands they are already familiar with

With that said, brands who are willing to invest in this platform and already have a respectable brand image in Japan have the potential to do very well. The increased ability to optimize your web store allows you to persuade and entice customers into making a purchase in a way that Amazon doesn’t, which must simply rely on product images/videos and descriptions to showcase a product’s “value”.

Learn About Japanese Website Localization and How to Reinvent Your Brand for Japan

Key Features

  • Brands have control over how they present themselves to potential customers through the virtual storefront, with the power to adapt the design and visuals for greater impact and conversion potential.
  • Rakuten’s Super Points loyalty-based rewards program is extremely popular in Japan, with members receiving benefits like cashback and discounts.
  • International merchants can opt for in-country warehousing models such as the Rakuten Super Logistics solution.
  • Much like Amazon’s FBA, it offers cross-border freight management, multichannel order fulfillment, and return management for online orders.

HB Pro Tip: If you just want to test the potential performance of your products on Rakuten, you should consider partnering with a seller who is already verified. Some merchants will operate reselling accounts that host hundreds of different products from a variety of Western brands.

Traffic Data

Country Traffic Rank 5
Global Traffic Rank 43
Total Visits 605M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 1

*Data sourced from SimilarWeb’s January 2022 domain overview

3. Yahoo! Shopping Japan

Yahoo! homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2022

As a brand, Yahoo! has the kind of presence in Japan that many would find surprising. In addition to its various digital services and products, such as the popular Yahoo News (one of Japan’s most popular sources of news), its online shopping division also does very well. This includes Yahoo! Shopping and Yahoo! Auction.

While Yahoo! Shopping is the company’s more traditional ecommerce platform, selling anything from electronics to toiletries from thousands of merchants, Yahoo! Auction is its popular ‘flea market’ counterpart, tapping into the growing love for C2C selling platforms in Japan in 2022.

Key Features

  • Yahoo! Shopping now lets brands set up a virtual storefront and control the overall layout of their page, with a number of basic templates available for building a store.
  • The platform offers PayPay Bonus, PayPay Bonus Lite, and T points which have large user bases in Japan.
  • Merchants can access an analytics suite that tells them about traffic to their pages, which keywords were used to reach their page, demographics of visitors and overall behaviour history.

HB Pro Tip: The biggest benefit of Yahoo! Shopping is that searchers are redirected through the Yahoo! search engine to the ecommerce platform, drawing from a huge volume of daily searches and potentially improving your traffic substantially. With sufficient optimization of your Yahoo SEO and advertising strategy, you could really boost the kind of attention you get paid.

Read Our Ecommerce Guide to SEO

Traffic Data

Country Traffic Rank 31
Global Traffic Rank 297
Total Visits 124M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 6

*Data sourced from SimilarWeb’s January 2022 domain overview

4. Au Pay Market (Wowma)

Au Pay homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2022

Au Pay, formerly Wowma, is a growingly popular marketplace in Japan. Founded by the mobile phone company KDDI, it benefits from its mother company’s large share of mobile users with the au brand having over 38 million registered customers, over 14 million subscribers to its ‘smart pass’ app, and over 2500 physical stores in the country.

Key Features

  • Guides customers to the platform from other Au Pay services and products (apps, channels, websites etc.)
  • Has both an online and offline market of customers accumulating a wide network of loyal Au Pay shoppers who enjoy purchasing from affiliated shops and benefiting from the brand’s reward scheme
  • Offers a product registration tool that allows you to register existing products from other platforms and marketplaces within the au PAY market

Traffic Data

Country Traffic Rank 155
Global Traffic Rank 1,748
Total Visits 29.2M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 5

*Data sourced from SimilarWeb’s January 2022 domain overview

5. PayPay Mall

PayPay Mall homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2022

PayPay Mall sells itself as a “higher grade” shopping experience for shoppers, where only carefully selected brands and shops can be found. It is owned by Yahoo Japan and was launched to revitalise the company’s presence in the Japanese ecommerce landscape, as Yahoo! Shopping has struggled to contend with the dominance of both Rakuten and Amazon.

The model it relies on is closest to Rakuten’s virtual store system — letting merchants create and manage branded digital storefronts. It also encourages users to return with its popular points system through PayPay, an easy-to-use cashless payment method used by over 25 million users in Japan.

Key Features

  • Supports PayPay payments, one of the most used cashless payment services in Japan
    Offers merchant sales tools such as discount creation and free shipping, which can be issued as coupons to customers
  • Optional participation in seasonal promotions where the platform highlights brands that offer products or deals that match the many popular holidays and seasons in Japan

Traffic Data

Country Traffic Rank
Global Traffic Rank
Total Visits 37M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping)

*Data sourced from SimilarWeb’s January 2022 domain overview

6. Qoo10 Japan

Qoo10 homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2022

Owned now by Ebay, Qoo10 draws from a vast knowledge of ecommerce experience as it sells a vast range of products, such as fashion, beauty, sports, digital, mobile, home living, living, food, baby, entertainment, and books, welcoming all kinds of sellers.

Its approach to ecommerce is to create an environment that is “fun, convenient, price competitive and secure”, with a particular focus on offering user reviews to support customer purchasing decisions.

Key Features

  • Incentivises users on your behalf to leave reviews, which in turn can boost conversion rates through the high need among Japanese shoppers for social proof and peer recommendations
  • Offers a “photo review” function in addition to regular reviews, so customers can review the products in more detail than on some other platforms
  • Offers various discounts and coupons to customers throughout the year to encourage them to shop on its platform, which it will cover the cost of

Traffic Data

Country Traffic Rank 239
Global Traffic Rank 2,699
Total Visits 29.2M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 10

*Data sourced from SimilarWeb’s January 2022 domain overview

7. ZOZOTOWN

ZOZOTOWN homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2022

ZOZOTOWN, featuring both local and international brands and among Japanese consumers, is known as the best ecommerce platform in Japan for fashion. This is partly thanks to its access to newly released and limited edition products that can’t be found on other online marketplaces.

Where other platforms cater to a much wider section of society of all demographic variation, ZOZOTOWN has a much narrower target audience and uses this knowledge to optimize its marketing, web content, overall design and UX, and availability of participating brands, paying particular attention to the trends being set in the nation’s capital, Tokyo.

Key Features

  • Offers users a more premium experience and draws in many trend-conscious shoppers with an appetite for Western brands that are currently trending (both domestically and internationally)
  • The platform also published a physical and digital fashion magazine called “WEAR” and operates an app under the same name, giving brands more exposure and helping to inform the decisions of its audience.

HB Pro Tip: This isn’t the place people generally go when looking for a bargain, and its appeal is admittedly narrower than other platforms that cater to the mass market. Nevertheless, This is a great option for western designers seeking to establish their products in Japan and reach younger customers. For brands not in the fashion world or trying to compete on price, not brand uniqueness or quality, this isn’t the best Japanese ecommerce platform for you.

Traffic Data

Country Traffic Rank
Global Traffic Rank
Total Visits 50K
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping)

*Data sourced from SimilarWeb’s January 2022 domain overview

8. Lohaco

Lohaco homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2022

Lohaco’s market share is small compared to many other players in this list, however, it does well to cater to younger female demographics by understanding buying preferences and adapting to trends in the market.
Their specialised approach to everything from design and functionality to available product options has allowed them to tap into a high value market.

Key Features

  • Oversees the Style Lohaco blog where it publishes reviews, lists, inspiration, interviews and more that actively recommend and analyse products on its platform to help inform customer decisions
  • Occasionally develops exclusive products jointly with brands, based on the concept of lifestyle-oriented design

Traffic Data

Country Traffic Rank 27,420
Global Traffic Rank 355,889
Total Visits 29.2M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 621

*Data sourced from SimilarWeb’s January 2022 domain overview

Most Popular Japanese Flea Market/Auction Platforms In 2022

Woman selling products on best ecommerce in Japan (C2C)

The growing popularity of C2C platforms in Japan has added an exciting component to the country’s ecommerce ecosystem, where an increasing number of users enjoy the ability to easily buy and sell second hand items for a reasonable price.

With the inherent lack of space in Japanese households, we predict that more and more people will start to sell products after using them for only a short time — making room for new additions without taking up vital storage space.

Mercari 63%
Yahoo Auction! 58.4%
Rakuma 29.1%
PayPay Furima 18.7%
Minnie 7.5%
Creema 6.3%
Booth 4.6%
Oatmart 4.6%
Shoppies 4%
Noojma 3.6%
BoonBoon! Market 3.4%
Zeni no Furima 3.3%
Kante 3.3%
Let 3.1%
Others 0.7%

Source: Statista

The Outlook for Ecommerce Platforms in Japan – 2022 and Beyond

Customer using cashless phone payment on pick-up kiosk for best ecommerce in Japan

While the love for shopping in person remains strong in Japan due to an incredibly strong culture of shopping locally as well as at large shopping malls and complex located in major cities, a major driver behind future ecommerce growth in 2022 and beyond is the desire for convenient home deliveries and the access to a much wider range of products that can be found simply within someone’s local shopping districts.

We are incredibly excited to see how the consumer-to-consumer (C2C) ecommerce market continues to grow and influence people’s shopping habits. Platforms like Mercari — now one of the best ecommerce platforms in Japan — are giving people a new way to shop.

These platforms compete by making improvements to user interfaces on smartphone applications, introducing more exchange kiosks, and promoting the value of purchasing almost-new products for a fraction of the price of new ones. This may also be spurred by the culture of sustainable shopping in Japan, as it has in other nations.

Learn What Sustainability Means to Japanese Consumers

 

The Impact of Covid-19 On Japanese Ecommerce

Covid-19 is likely to have an ongoing impact on Japanese ecommerce, both in terms of user behaviour as well as popular shopping categories.

During times when infection rates are high, the desire to shop online and avoid crowded public spaces will likely contribute to ecommerce growth as it has done in markets across the globe.

In GWI’s Market Snapshot of Japan, only 20% of respondents said they are comfortable with in-store shopping during the pandemic, with many also registering levels of discomfort on public transport (68%) and at large indoor events (83%), suggesting people may look to online services and products to fulfil their needs until the threat from Covid-19 abates.


More Sales Driven By Social Media

The number of social media users in Japan is projected to increase to about 89 million users by 2025, despite an expected decrease of the total population. And as we’ve discussed a lot in other articles, the role of social media in influencing, and even facilitating, people’s purchases is likely to continue in 2022 and beyond.

Platforms such as Facebook and its PPC marketing options also provide new ecommerce entrants to the Japanese ecommerce market with an essential way to gain initial traction in a brand new consumer landscape, building brand awareness and making those all-important first sales!

Read Our Full Guide on Japan’s Social Media Networks

More Payment Options

Shopper using PayPay payments from best ecommerce in Jap

While cash is still common for in-store payments, cards are the most common payment method for online purchases, making up 65 percent of market share according to J.P. Morgan.

Also, the mobile payments market in Japan is forecasted to increase to around 4.4 trillion yen by 2023 and as the desire for cashless payments increases, we’re likely to see further growth in this area as platforms use new payment options combined with rewards to compete against other platforms, as we’ve seen PayPay Mall do over the last few years.

There are also a number of new payment options that now exist in Japan, such as cash on delivery and even installment payments, where customers can spread their cost of purchase over several weeks or months. Platforms will look to entice merchants to sell with them by offering these options, with perceived benefit also going to consumers who are becoming increasingly demanding about the methods they use to pay.

Read Our Tip Tips for Selling Online in Japan

Popular Payment Methods

  • PayPay
  • LINE Pay
  • Rakuten Pay
  • Origami Pay
  • D-barai
  • merPay
  • Pixiv PAY
  • pring
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay

HB Pro Tip: Did you know that credit cards are more popular than debit cards in Japan when it comes to online shopping? Many standard debit cards from Japanese banks simply aren’t compatible with online payments, making it crucial that brands can process the right kind of payments through their chosen ecommerce platforms.

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How to Choose the Best Ecommerce Platform in Japan for Your Business in 2022

Japanese couple shopping on best ecommerce in Japan

In truth, Amazon is probably the best ecommerce platform in Japan to choose for 90% of businesses. This is due to its share of the market, ease of use, support with customer services and fulfillment and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that many businesses are already selling on this platform in their home market, giving them experience with its features.

For the remaining 10%, Rakuten, as well as other names on this list, may be the best places to start selling in Japan if these platforms give you more exposure to your specific target audience (or a greater chance of tapping into more profitable segments). However, we recommend that you first perform a good amount of market analysis before you make this call.

Selling on Amazon AND other platforms also makes sense. Just keep in mind that juggling multiple languages can be much harder for foreign businesses without extensive Japanese language support. And as we’ve witnessed first hand, spreading yourself too thinly can make it harder for you to ensure consistency of service across individual channels.

If you want more advice on this topic or support setting up your Japanese ecommerce strategy for 2022, get in touch with us and we’ll set up a call with one of our ecommerce experts.

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