The outbreak of COVID-19 fundamentally changed the way consumers in Japan lived their lives during 2020. With restrictions imposed and government advice to avoid busy areas and to work from home where possible there was an increased reliance on the digital world.
Japan has traditionally leaned towards cash transactions with this being supported by consumers’ faith that they are unlikely to be robbed in what they consider to be a safe society, as well as concerns about the security of digital information. The fact that Japan has the world’s oldest population, which is rapidly approaching a median age of 50 years old, also contributes to the market’s continued fondness for cash, as older consumers tend to be less open to adopting new technologies.
2020 saw the rolling out of the country’s 5G network with the major mobile operators NTT DoCoMo, SoftBank, and KDDI, all launching 5G services in March 2020, followed by Rakuten in September. As well as providing improved download times and better quality digital streaming services, a faster, more secure network has the potential to enhance the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) by facilitating connectivity across devices.
A key concern for many consumers when it comes to digital commerce and the digital landscape in general is the safety of their information. A series of high profile cases in which consumers’ personal data was compromised has left consumers questioning how safe it is for their personal information and bank/credit card details to be available online.
Japan’s rapidly ageing society represents one of the key obstacles to the development of the country’s digital landscape because of the reluctance of elderly people to adopt new technologies compared with their younger counterparts. However, the ageing of the population also presents notable motives and opportunities for investment in technological innovation.
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