May 16, 2019
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) conducted the FY2018 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, namely 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 2018, the scale of the domestic B-to-C EC market expanded to 18.0 trillion yen (up by 8.96% from 16.5 trillion yen in the previous year). In addition, the scale of the domestic B-to-B EC market expanded in the same year to 344.2 trillion yen (up by 8.1% from 318.2 trillion yen in the previous year).
The EC ratio* was 6.22% (up by 0.43 percentage points from the previous year) for B-to-C EC, while it was 30.2% (up by 0.8 percentage points from the previous year) for B-to-B EC, showing an increasing trend and continuous progress in the computerization of commercial transactions.
Looking at the scale of the B-to-C EC market by sector, the year-on-year growth rate in the merchandising sector increased by 8.12% from 7.45% in the previous year and that in the service sector increased by 11.59% from 11.3% in the previous year, which uncovers that these sectors are growth markets.
(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.
The scale of the EC market via flea market applications, one of the types of C-to-C EC markets, dramatically increased to 639.2 billion yen (up by 32.2% from 483.5 billion yen in the previous year). This expansion and continuing trend shows that a giant market has emerged in Japan just six years since the entry of flea market applications into the market in 2012.
(3) Market scale of cross-border EC among three countries, namely Japan, the U.S., and China
In 2018, the market scale of cross-border EC among three countries, namely 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 1.5345 trillion yen (up by 18.2% from the previous year), and that from U.S. business operators was 1.7278 trillion yen (up by 18.5% from the previous year), showing a prominent expansion of the amount purchased through cross-border EC by Chinese consumers.
2. Outline of the E-Commerce Market Survey
Since FY1998, this survey has been conducted every year, aiming to discover the trends in the EC market and the current state of users. This was the 21st survey.
The survey has been investigating the state of the domestic market scale of business-to-consumer, business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer 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 those falling into the “other” category in the industrial classification system.
Division in Charge
Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau