David Blecken
Feb 6, 2017

Japanese seniors warm to smartphones and ecommerce

Shopping is the most popular online activity, as Yahoo and radio show resilience.

Japanese seniors warm to smartphones and ecommerce

Smartphone usage is becoming more prevalent among Japanese senior citizens as online shopping rises across the board, according to research into digital media habits in the market by IPG Mediabrands.

The ‘Media in Mind’ study, which canvassed 2,400 internet users in the Kanto and Kansai areas over three days in November 2016, found 28 percent of respondents aged between 70 and 74 now own smartphones. 33 percent of men and 23 percent of women in that age bracket are smartphone users, up from 17 percent in 2015. 61 percent of respondents aged between 15 and 74 own smartphones.

Possibly as a result of this increased ownership, senior consumers have become more active in fields like online shopping. 55 percent of men and 38 percent of women listed it as an area they are now more active in, followed by internet banking (41 percent and 19 percent). Online shopping was the most prevalent digital activity for all age groups surveyed, with 41 percent of the total (aged between 15 and 74) saying they had become more engaged.

Internet banking is popular across the board, although services in Japan remain relatively limited. TV and movie consumption was also popular, while radio showed surprising resilience: 8 percent of male and female 15 to 19-year-olds and 6 percent of male 20 to 34-year-olds said they listened to more radio through their digital devices than before.

Yahoo may be fading into insignificance elsewhere in the world, but it remains stubbornly popular in Japan. 46 percent listed it as a site or app they would have difficulty without. That compares to 34 percent for Google, although Google proved more popular among male respondents aged 15 to 34. Advertising and ecommerce have been key factors in Yahoo Japan’s profitability. Smartphones are now responsible for half its advertising revenue, according to a recent report by Bloomberg. The report noted that monthly active users grew 16 percent year-on-year to more than 37 million.

Amazon ranked the highest out of the ecommerce properties named, ahead of Rakuten. Rakuten proved more popular in the 70 to 74 age group however. Other applications listed as indispensible include Line and YouTube. Line takes precedence over YouTube for male 15 to 19-year-olds, while YouTube wins out for those aged 20 to 34. Map and traffic-related applications are important for people aged 50 and above.

Campaign Japan

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