A Happy New Year to you all. We hope you all had a great holiday.
Today we want to summarise Japanese Social Media trends and movements around Social Media in 2012. Of course, what we’ll be discussing is all about the Japanese market !
Last year was a year of big change. From Facebook finally winning the heart of Japanese users to Linkedin Japan’s kick off. We saw the start of the Social Commerce movement, location based apps and also Content Curation Service was a big hit. Everyone loved it. Another big buzz from 2011 centered around ‘Gamification’. We all know Japanese people are hot for gaming – but this was taken to another level. The appearance of SIM unlocked Smartphones in the Japanese mobile phone market was a key ingredient of mobile apps & gaming. The population of Smartphone users (iPhone is the Japanese people’s first choice) is growing. And yes of course, last year, QR code finally got popular outside of Japan too, which probably made Japanese people quite proud of their technology !
We know we all can’t help to wonder what is expected to happen in 2012. Which Social Media will dominate the market ? What types of app should we be looking out for ? What are the trends in 2012 ?!?! Let us try to dig this up a bit and discuss.
So, personally there are several trends that we should watch out for in 2012. And they are:
Growth of Social Commerce
So let’s take a look one by one.
Social TV —
The start of Hulu increased the number of people watching films and series on tablet devices or Smartphones. I personally think there was a reservation for some Japanese people (ie. My father) to start using Smartphones because there’s no TV channels to watch. However with Hulu, we can watch films and popular TV series on an iPad, iPhone, Android, laptop or TV if you like. There you go – This will give an massive impact to companies consumer approach.
Growth of Social Commerce —
Social Commerce is expected to reach 30 billion dollars market worth by 2015. It has already started, now what. I think Facebook is helping the growth as people register with their real names = more visibility between consumers & companies. Japanese consumers always wanted absolute transparency from service providers. But not themselves. Now, this experience is completely new and I smell something exciting here.
Cloud based services are getting more and more popular. I personally don’t remember the last day that I didn’t use them. I use them absolutely every single day at work & in my personal life. Some Japanese people have reservations about saving data in the Cloud for business use (I have had a bitter experience with this too mainly because of the bad internet connection I had with my last provider!), however personal contents will be mostly saved in Cloud. So, do go deeper with Cloud in 2012.
Although (of course) some Japanese people find it a little too much (as we, Japanese, like to have a little bit of privacy at all time), most people in Japan seem to find geographical services useful. Apps using ‘Geofencing’ are expected to be very popular in 2012. Perhaps the Japanese people’s all time favourite ‘Couponing’ will do well with this function. We don’t mind going deeper with couponing.
Unlike Linkedin who started their Japanese services in October last year, Facebook had their Japanese pages ready in 2008. However it’s only now that Facebook is really kicking off.
Facebook was slow in winning users in Japan, this is probably because of the fact that the Social Media, known as ‘SNS’ in Japan, only accepts real names. Japanese people are notoriously cautious about putting their real names up on internet or photos of themselves. Some might also say that the reason it took so long is because of the structure of Facebook, Japanese people find streaming information in one place hard to get. Anyway it has taken some time, but Facebook definitely found a way to win the heart of Japanese users and the user population is growing as we speak. Facebook will be sitting in the middle of the Social Media Marketing of 2012.
Mobile Marketing —
‘Smartphone’ is one of the important key elements for 2012 Social Media Marketing, or even digital marketing in general. Smartphone dominated the top 9 of the sales ranking as of November 2011 with iPhone 4S dominating 29% of the market according to BC ranking’s article published on the 9th of December 2011 (http://bcnranking.jp/news/1112/111209_21606.html).
Japanese people are very into using mobile phones for anything, from watching TV to playing games. With SIM unlocked Smartphones entering the market, more people will be taking pleasure from the rich portable digital experience. Let’s not forget the fact Facebook published it’s HTML5 based iPad app and mobile platform last year. Discovery of mobile apps has been quite hard to be honest. But now Social Media can spread the trend of mobile apps.
With number of log in times for Social Media being higher in mobile rather than desktop in Japan, Mobile Marketing is definitely something we should spend some time on during 2012.
So that’s our trend forecast for 2012. I hope this helps to get you guys excited for this year.
If you have any questions, or need any help to boost up your online sales in Japan, please get in touch with us.
Kana & Team JPN BUZZ