The new Hashtag Nation: How Japanese social media is playing a role in e-commerce

Social media platforms are no new thing for businesses, they allow companies to advertise, increase their online presence, and deliver high-quality customer service. They are a significant part in finding new consumers, maintaining repeat custom and keeping up to date on the newest trends. In fact, 40% of merchants use social media to generate sales in some way including 1 in 4 business owners who are selling through Facebook.

87% of ecommerce shoppers believe social media helps them make a shopping decision

What makes social networks so effective as well is that they can cross national borders. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are international companies that encourage long distant communication and are used by a vast number of people. In fact, Japan is Twitter’s second largest market globally with 35.6% of the population as active users. With a huge number of people using the site, advertising on Twitter’s Japanese platform seems like a good investment if trying to sell in Japan. Combine this with how 140 characters can express much more in Japanese than in English, allowing you to give more information about your products and fully exploit Twitter’s character limit, and it seems a no-brainer. 

Nearly three-quarters of all Japanese students and half of young professionals use Twitter weekly

Studies have shown that 53.9% of young people in Japan also use social media to get quick access to helpful information as an alternative to using Google or Yahoo. This suggests that social media may become a useful tool for selling your brand as it will be the first port of call for Japanese customers. Young people will ultimately get recommendations from their networks, or see your product on social, and make a decision to purchase without too much interruption from competitors. 

It is an exciting time for advertising on social media right now as these platforms are increasingly trying to become transactional. They are attempting to blur the gap between social media and ecommerce, and allow users to buy products directly off the social media platform. This is something that has already been reported to be happening in China, where 55% of social app users are buying goods or services directly on a social app. If implemented properly, advertisers may increase their impulse sales as well as reach a new targeted audience much quicker than before.

30% of consumers say they would make purchases directly through social media platforms

This innovative concept will also be facilitated by the increase of commerce on mobile phones (M-commerce). It has been reported that recently nearly 60% of all online transactions take place on mobile platforms. Moreover, popular Japanese ecommerce platforms such as Amazon Japan and Rakuten have readily available applications which have contributed to the growth of m-commerce from 25.9 billion US dollars in 2015 to a predicted 60 billion in 2020. 

E-commerce sales in Japan are expected to grow to 60.8 billion US dollars by 2020