How Does Digital Consumption Differ in Japan vs. UK and USA?

For businesses thinking about expanding their reach and trying to break into the Japanese market, one of the most important aspects to take into consideration is digital consumption, and how the way we use, interact with, and engage with digital content differs across the world. Digital Reportal’s 2019 global overview highlights vital consumption and usage statistics which demonstrates the significant differences in the way that audiences in the UK and US, and audiences across Japan consume content.


Digital Consumption in Japan


In Japan, around 94% of the population are online, which suggests a typical annual growth rate of around 0.4%. But how are these web users utilising available content? Interestingly, but perhaps not unsurprisingly, Japanese users are not particularly likely to engage directly with brands online, and are instead much more partial to interacting with social content, search engines, and gaming content. In fact, while 75% of users search for products online, less than half actually make online purchases, with more time spent on social platforms and playing games such as Pokemon Go and Tsum Tsum.


Digital Consumption in the UK & US


With a 95% internet penetration rate, the UK and US have roughly the same percentage of internet users as Japan, yet the digital global overview shows some big differences in how these users interact with online content. Across these two countries, a much larger percentage will engage with sales content and are more likely to interact with brands directly, with more than 80% stating that they purchase products online. However, only 13% (UK) and 18% (US) interact with gaming content compared to Japan’s 64%. While social content and search engines remain popular, the preference for gaming content in Japan is replaced with shopping, news, and educational content in the UK and US.


It’s also important to look not only at what sort of content is being consumed in these countries, but also how this content is being consumed. Reports show that digital consumption via smartphone is increasing across the world, with once traditional Japan now ranked as 18th in the world for smartphone penetration, with 55% connected.


What This Means for Marketers


The biggest takeaway from this data is that marketers who are accustomed to creating strong sales content for their western audiences may need to tailor their existing campaigns and approaches in order to better engage with Japanese audiences, who consume less sales content and more associated content, such as social and gaming. It also highlights the importance of creating optimised content to coincide with the rise of smartphone usage in Japan, giving audiences what they want, where they want it.

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