Japan - Country Commercial Guide
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Japan is the world’s fourth largest eCommerce market after China, the United States, and the United Kingdom.  In August 2023, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (“METI”) released its annual eCommerce Market Survey showing that Business-to-Consumer (“B2C”) eCommerce sales of goods grew by 5.37 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year, estimating the total B2C eCommerce market at $162.4 billion [1 USD=140JPY].  Compared to pre-COVID 2019, B2C sales of goods grew by 32.2 percent in FY2021. 

The recent survey further reported that Japanese consumers engaged in $2.5 billion worth of cross-border online shopping from U.S. outlets in 2022, an increase of 5.9 percent from the previous year, indicating that Japanese consumers are buying more products not only from Japanese online stores but also from U.S. online retailers as well.  Japan’s Business-to-Business (“B2B”) eCommerce market is estimated at $3 trillion based on the total of all commercial transactions between companies in all industrial categories in Japan.

For tips on how to use eCommerce in exporting and international business strategy, please visit the eCommerce Innovation Lab (EIL). 

Spending Holidays 

Japan’s biggest spending holiday is New Year.  Japanese clean house and buy new clothing for New Year.  Also, Japan consistently has higher online spending in the summer months when Japanese firms are known to give yearly summer bonuses. Average worker bonuses are nearly $3,000 and the spending of that bonus is primarily focused on luxury goods, leisure, and travel. Additional spending holidays include White Day (March 14) and Christmas. 

Local eCommerce Sales Rules & Regulations 

Various GOJ agencies, including METI and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC), regulate eCommerce in Japan. Consumer and personal information/data protection laws apply to the online marketplace.  Also, all online retailers must follow the Specified Commercial Transactions Law regulated by the Consumer Affairs Agency 

In May 2020, Japan’s Diet passed a new law, the Act on Improvement of Transparency and Fairness in Trading on Specified Digital Platforms, that will require e-Commerce platforms to submit an annual report to METI on their business practices. METI will subsequently solicit comments from merchants, conduct reviews and publish the results. U.S. firms Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, as well as Japanese firms Rakuten and Yahoo-Japan, are among those affected. See Cabinet Office summary

The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), which assesses antitrust issues in B2C e-commerce, conducted and - in 2019 - released an online trade practices survey, which included a perspective on manufacturers, distributors, retailers, online shopping malls, and other players. See results of the survey (https://www.jftc.go.jp/en/pressreleases/yearly-2019/April/190409_1.html). 

Local E-Commerce Business Service Provider Ecosystem 

Companies using eCommerce channels to reach the Japanese consumers or businesses must consider: 

eCommerce platforms 

  • Payment methods 
  • Customer loyalty programs and points systems
  • Shipping logistics 
  • Customer service, returns, after-sales service 
  • Companies looking to enter the market should be able to advertise, brand, and provide customer support in Japanese.  
  • eCommerce Platforms in Japan 


eCommerce Platforms in Japan  

Amazon  Japan  

Net sales in 2022 were approximately $24 billion, an increase of 5.7% from 2021 (including retail sales and subcriptions)

Amazon Japan is known to be used by customers seeking an exact product or product type


More than 100 million members

Domestic eCommerce gross merchandise sales in 2022 was approximately $40 billion

Rakuten is known for hosting “stores” that customers can browse rather than seek an exact product

Yahoo! Japan Shopping  

Third largest eCommerce platform in Japan

Yahoo! Japan is a group company of Z Holdings, which also owns LINE, the most popular social media network in Japan as well as popular eCommerce platforms including Zozotown (apparel), Ikkyu (travel) and Askul (stationery and office supplies).  Cross promotions and social media help Yahoo! Japan retain a top spot in eCommerce.


Department Stores and Retail Outlets  

Mitsukoshi Isetan

Most influential store in the fashion market  

Hankyu Department Stores

One of the busiest department stores in Japan with approximately 100,000 customer a day

Yodobashi Camera

An eCommerce site of a major home appliance chain

The second largest individual B-to-C eCommerce site after Amazon with approximately $1.6 billion online sales 


Supermarket eCommerce Sites  


Customers can choose how they want to receive products – delivered or pick up at a store.

Ito Yokado

Customers cannot use this online grocery shopping service if there are no local Ito Yokado nearby.