Japan’s smartphone usage is estimated to increase by 3% in 2018 to 70.8 million – representing 56.1% of the population. The latest forecast by eMarketer predicts that Japan’s attraction to smartphones does however still come in behind other countries in the Asia Pacific region.
Both South Korea and Singapore are estimated to have smartphone adoption rates of 75% in 2018 despite both having a smaller population than Japan.
eMarketer attributes the weaker smartphone penetration in Japan to the country’s larger percentage of an older population. After all, 25% of the country is over 65 years of age.
Additionally, both smartphones and data plans tend to be more expensive in Japan compared to other neighbouring countries.
“The feature phone is still relevant in Japan thanks to the older population who have yet to find it necessary to purchase a smartphone,” explained Chris Bendtsen, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer.
“For this group, the desktop/laptop is the preferred portal to the online world, and there isn’t a need for on-the-go access with a smaller device. The smartphone population is by no means a small number, but the fact that feature phones aren’t a thing of the past is unique in Japan compared to other developed countries.”
Similarly, a survey by the country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications found that 54% of respondents were now using their smartphones to access the Internet. Another 49% were still using their PCs and 19% were using tablets to access the Internet in the country.
Smartphone Internet usage is led by the younger generation with 88% of those in their 20s using their smartphones to access the Internet compared to 37% of 60-year-olds.