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Internet Buying Boom: METI Releases Results of FY2017 E-Commerce Market Survey

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) conducted the FY2017 Survey of Infrastructure Development Status for Data-driven Society in Japan (E-Commerce Market Survey) to analyze the current state of the Japanese e-commerce (EC) market and the market trends in cross-border EC among three countries – Japan, the U.S., and China – and compiled the results into a report.

1. Summary of the survey results

1. Scale of the domestic EC market (business-to-consumer (B-to-C) and business-to-business (B-to-B))

In 2017, the scale of the domestic B-to-C EC market expanded to 16.5 trillion yen (up by 9.1% from 15.1 trillion yen in the previous year). The scale of the domestic B-to-B EC market expanded in the same year to 317.2 trillion yen (up by 9.0% from 291.0 trillion yen in the previous year).

The EC ratio* was 5.79% (up by 0.36 percentage points from the previous year) for B-to-C EC, while it was 29.6% (up by 1.3 percentage points from the previous year) for B-to-B EC. The survey results show continuous progress in the computerization of commercial transactions.

Changes in scale of B-to-C EC market in Japan
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2. Scale of the domestic EC market (consumer to consumer (C-to-C))

In recent years, the C-to-C EC market has been dramatically expanding as an EC channel. In light of this trend, METI has been estimating the scale of the market in Japan since the 2016 survey. In the 2017 survey, the results revealed that the scale of the internet auction market in 2017 was estimated to be 1,120.0 billion yen (up by 3.2% from 1,084.9 billion yen in the previous year), the C-to-C scale of which was estimated to be 356.9 billion yen (up by 3.2% from 345.8 billion yen in the previous year).

The scale of the EC market via flea market applications was estimated to be 483.5 billion yen (up by 58.4% from 305.2 billion yen in the previous year), showing a sharp increase. This revealed that a giant market with a scale of lower-500.0 billion yen has emerged in Japan just five years since the entry of flea market applications into the market in 2012.

Estimated market scale of flea market applications (Unit: 100 million yen)

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3. Market scale of cross-border EC among Japan, the U.S. and China

In 2017, the market scale of cross-border EC among Japan, the U.S. and China, increased in all countries. In particular, the amount purchased through cross-border EC by Chinese consumers from Japanese business operators was 1,297.8 billion yen (up by 25.2% from 1,036.6 billion yen in the previous year), and that from U.S. business operators was 1,457.8 billion yen (up by 28.2% from 1,137.1 billion yen in the previous year), showing an outstanding expansion of the amount purchased through cross-border EC by Chinese consumers.

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2. Outline of the E-Commerce Market Survey

Since FY1998, this survey has been conducted every year, aiming to discover trends in the EC market and the current state of users. This was the 20th survey.

The FY2017 survey investigated the current state of the domestic market scale of B-to-C EC, B-to-B EC and C-to-C EC, as well as the market trends in B-to-C cross-border EC (among Japan, the U.S., and China).

*Note: The EC ratio in this survey refers to the ratio of the e-commerce market scale to the total amount of overall commercial transactions. The subjects for calculating the EC ratio for B-to-C EC and B-to-B EC are selected respectively from merchandising businesses and business types except “others” in an industrial classification system.

Appendix

Release date

April 25, 2018

Division in Charge

Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau

Related website

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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