KnowJapan

Receiving payment from your customers

  • The Japanese are the 6th largest online spenders in the world, spending an average of $1,317 per head in 2014. A wide array of new payment methods has developed within Japan to cater to the ever-developing online consumer base.
  • Despite the advanced nature of electronic payment systems in Japan, however, cash-on-delivery remains a popular payment method used for physical goods purchased online. 48% of e-commerce purchases are paid for using this method, and an e-retailer should factor this into their expansion plans for the Japanese market.

POPULAR PAYMENT METHODS

What e-Commerce payment methods are used by Japanese consumers?

BANK CARDS

Despite Japan historically being a cash-oriented society, bank cards are becoming increasingly popular in this location – both online and off. Spending using plastic in 2014 grew 10% on the previous year to an all-time high of $352 billion.

In Japan, consumers generally use credit cards for larger payments and pre-paid cards for smaller transactions.

Debit cards issued: 419.7 million.

Credit cards issued: 312.2 million.

Pre-paid cards in circulation: 224.5 million

KONBINI

A considerable number of online purchases in Japan are paid for using methods which are unpopular or even unheard of in major Western markets, such as the convenience store payment. This method of payment is offered by many e-retailers in Japan, and involves consumers ordering goods online, receiving a reference number following confirmation, and then paying for the item at a kiosk or cash register at a convenience store near them, known locally as a Konbini. Konbinis also offer a range of other payment methods for shoppers in Japan, such as bank transfers and ATM payments. Konbini payments do, of course, come with some risk to the e-trader. About 15% of items purchased with the assurance of a konbini payment are not paid for. As a result of this, sellers should wait for payment to clear before shipping an order.

Examples of popular Konbinis in Japan include:

THIRD-PARTY PAYMENT PROVIDERS & E-WALLETS

In contrast to neighbouring Asian markets such as China, e-money technology has yet to really take off in Japan, despite being over 10 years old. Indeed, eWallets make up only 6.6% of all online transactions in this location.

The main third-party payment providers in Japan include:

  • Yahoo! Japan
  • Webpay
  • Square

The ever-popular PayPal only recently set up in Japan and is still attempting to establish a foothold in the country. It currently boasts only about 1 million local users.

MOBILE PAYMENTS

Japan, alongside South Korea and the UK, is the most advanced market for mobile shopping in the world. Mobile’s share of e-commerce is now over 50% in Japan, and this is expected to rise to 61% by the end of 2015. Facilitating m-commerce payments in Japan, then, is of the upmost importance, with some 89% of all online shoppers having engaged in the practice in this country.

Key points to note include that:

  • Japan is ranked 6th out of 34 countries in the Mobile Payments Readiness Index, totalling a score of 39.6, as compared to the global average of 33.2.
  • Mobile Suica is a mobile payments system which can be used in Japan’s major cities and towns, and Line has introduced Line Pay, another popular mobile-based payments system.
  • Apple’s iOS is Japan’s most popular mobile operating system, holding a 68.7% share, and Apple Pay is becoming an increasingly popular payment method.
  • Japan’s largest mobile provider introduced a mobile payment system in 2004. Currently, there are 33 million ‘osaifu-keitai’ mobile phones that can be used to pay for just about anything, and 1.8 million retailers have readers installed for this payment method.

Other areas of interest

Meeting your regulatory responsibilities

Some routes to the Japanese e-commerce market will oblige you to set up a distinct legal entity.

Reaching and engaging your consumers

It is important for your website to capture the right look and feel to attract Japanese consumers as they attribute great importance to the aesthetics of online shops.

Getting the goods to your customers

The UK's logistics infrastructure is well developed and relatively straight-forward to negotiate.

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