Japan’s Best Ecommerce Platforms for 2023

Posted By Jim Kersey

When Western brands ask which of Japan’s ecommerce platforms is best for their market entry strategy, we recommend Amazon 99% of the time.

However, choosing your first platform to start selling on is a big decision when other platforms like Rakuten still offer huge potential for online sellers.

To make the choice a little easier, here’s our overview of the ecommerce landscape and a few important things foreign merchants should consider, based on real experience and insights from our team in Tokyo—Japan’s largest ecommerce market.

Table of Contents

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Overview of the Japanese Ecommerce Market in 2023

Yamato delivery truck fulfilling orders for best ecommerce in Japan 2023

Both domestic and foreign companies have invested heavily in Japan’s ecommerce market, which is still the third largest in the world after the US and China.

Many brands sell on at least one of the top three ecommerce marketplaces, Amazon, Rakuten and Yahoo! Shopping, while others also sell directly to customers through their own branded websites.

The nation’s population of high earners with significant purchasing power, coupled with the appetite for high quality and luxury brands have driven success for many US and European brands from Cole Haan to IKEA.

Key Market Considerations

  • The country has an 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
  • Expectations for quality and service standards are already incredibly high in Japan, but these are only growing as customers discover more convenience on all levels, whether it’s product availability and customisation, mobile-optimised product listings, seamless checkout processes, payments options, loyalty schemes or hassle-free delivery.
  • 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.
  • Japan’s digital infrastructure is 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)

Forecasted Ecommerce Growth

Year Revenue in million US$
2021 164.81
2022 154.17
2023 180.72
2024 206.25
2025 235.72

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

What Types of Ecommerce Platforms Do Japanese Shoppers Enjoy?

As well as traditional marketplaces like Amazon and Rakuten, 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

Japanese Ecommerce Users — Age Breakdown

Senior Japanese man using best ecommerce in Japan in 2023

In Japan’s traditional seniority system, salaries are increased according to years of service (kinzoku nensu) and age, with promotions also rewarded on this basis rather than purely based on performance of competence.

One of the effects of this is that older Japanese people naturally hold more disposable income, making Japan’s age breakdown an incredibly important factor for brands hoping to tap into the Japanese market.

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

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.

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 By Visitors

Amazon 626.2 Million
Rakuten 535.5 Million
Mercari 143.2 Million
Yahoo! Shopping 118.2 Million
Kakaku 106 Million

Source: SimilarWeb 2023

1. Amazon Japan

Amazon homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2023

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 extensive Japanese language capabilities, which are needed to truly maximise your potential on many of the other options in this list.

The 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 for your team to draw from its existing experience.

Combined with the general support the platform provides in the way of fulfilment and customer services support, it’s a no-brainer for many businesses making their first steps in a complex market like Japan.

Traffic Data

Country Traffic Rank 6
Global Traffic Rank 50
Total Monthly Visits 626.2M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 1

Source: SimilarWeb January 2023

Key Features

Alt Text Amazon hub kiosk for best ecommerce in Japan 2023

  • Several advanced paid advertising options including Amazon Sponsored Products (ASP) to help drive greater traffic and sales
  • A reliable Fulfilment 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 capitalise on holiday periods and events where online purchasing spikes
  • The Amazon Points loyalty system that incentivises customers to keep coming back
  • The ability to consolidate your product listings with the ‘Build International Listings’ feature — adding offers and synchronising pricing across multiple marketplaces

The effective Amazon Vine program for sellers is also a great tool for developing social proof if you are new to the market and don’t have any reviews from local customers yet. We’ve seen this contribute to a surge of 0 to 17 quality, verified product reviews in only one month for one of our retail clients.

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 2023

Rakuten is Japan’s second most popular ecommerce marketplace and an important consideration for any brand entering the market. However, it would be a mistake to do this without being prepared for what this involves.

The platform functions very differently in some ways and comes with more than a few hurdles to jump over. As well as creating an official seller account, which typically requires the support of a local partner one of the biggest challenges is developing your virtual storefront.

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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

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 fulfilment, 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 7
Global Traffic Rank 56
Total Visits 563.88M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 2

Source: SimilarWeb 2023

3. Yahoo! Shopping Japan

Yahoo! homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2022

Despite having a dwindling presence in other markets, Yahoo! is still big in Japan. 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 25
Global Traffic Rank 299
Total Visits 118.2M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 7

Source: SimilarWeb 2023

4. Au Pay Market (Wowma)

Au Pay homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2023

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.

The au brand has 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 202
Global Traffic Rank 2690
Total Visits 21.8M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 6

Source: SimilarWeb 2023

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 10.6M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping)

Source: SimilarWeb 2023

6. Qoo10 Japan

Qoo10 homepage best ecommerce in Japan 2023

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

It states 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

Traffic Data

Country Traffic Rank 286
Global Traffic Rank 2,699
Total Visits 13.9M
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 11

Source: SimilarWeb 2023


ZOZOTOWN, featuring both Japanese and international brands, is arguably the best ecommerce platform in the country for fashion sellers targeting fans of Western brands.

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 optimise 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 publishes 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 5K
Global Traffic Rank
Total Visits 50K
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping)

Source: SimilarWeb 2023

8. Lohaco

Lohaco’s market share is small compared to many other platforms 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 considered 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 27,442
Global Traffic Rank
Total Visits 101K
Category Rank (Japanese Ecommerce & Shopping) 660

Source: SimilarWeb 2023

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 — 2023 and Beyond

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

The love for brick-and-mortar remains strong in Japan due to an incredibly strong culture of shopping locally as well as at large shopping malls and complexes located in major cities. However, a major driver behind future ecommerce growth in 2023 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.

Also, the consumer-to-consumer (C2C) ecommerce market continues to grow and influence people’s shopping habits. Platforms like Mercari—now one of the most popular 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

Most Popular Ways to Pay in 2023

Shopper using PayPay payments from best ecommerce in Japan

Japanese shoppers prefer card payments when online shopping. This is largely due to the convenience most ecommerce platforms provide for card payments, which includes easy checkout solutions, discounts, gift vouchers, and additional rewards and benefits.

Visa, Mastercard, and JCB are the most widely used and accepted cards in online shopping in Japan and are also generally considered safe and secure ways to pay.

With high mobile and internet penetration, Mobile commerce is rising rapidly in the region. With sustained growth in mobile transactions in Japan and in-app purchases provided by most ecommerce companies such as Amazon Japan and Yahoo! Japan, and Rakuten, the M-commerce market is expected to grow further.

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.

Revenue Share By Payment Types

Type Percentage (%)
Bank Transfers 18
Cards 31
Cash On Delivery 8
Direct Debits 8
E-Invoice 2
E-Wallet 29
Other 3

Source: Statista

Popular Payment Services

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

Read Our Tip Tips for Selling Online in Japan

How to Choose the Best Ecommerce Platform in Japan for Your Business in 2023

Japanese courier delivering products from best ecommerce in Japan 2023

In truth, Amazon is probably the best ecommerce platform in Japan to choose for 90% of foreign brands.

This is due to its share of the market, ease of use, support with customer services and fulfilment, and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that many businesses are already selling on this platform in their home market, giving them an existing understanding of its features.

Selling on Amazon AND other platforms also makes sense. Just keep in mind that juggling multiple platforms 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 good levels of service across individual channels.

If you want more advice on this topic or support setting up your Japanese ecommerce strategy for 2023, get in touch with us and we’ll help you set up a call with one of our ecommerce experts!

Let Us Know How We Can Help!

Steal Our Best Ideas

Actionable insights straight from our data

Here are a couple quick discoveries we’ve pulled from the data of our latest projects. Why? To help you make the changes you need to gain traction in the Japanese market! As an agency, we are always digging deeper and searching for those little yet significant tweaks that will push our clients to the next level of success. If you need a partner to help you identify and implement changes like these on a monthly basis, let us know!

By executing an aggressive keyword campaign with a super sale promotion on Rakuten traffic surged 207% Discover card
Utilizing Rakuten's auto-follow-up email increased reviews by 2.5 times Discovery card
Enabling Amazon's subscribe and save generated 15% of total sales Discovery card
Launching a sponsored display campaign before Prime day increased ad impressions 343% Discovery card

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