Japan’s E-commerce market ranks fourth in the world behind the U.S, China, and the U.K, and is expected to reach $325 billion USD by the end of 2026. Due to its internet penetration rate north of 93% even for older generations, highly urbanised population and highly developed distribution channel, E-commerce revenue is also forecast to grow 6 per cent annually through to 2022.
Here are a few insights for E-commerce brands looking to run successful influencer marketing campaigns in the dynamic but tough Japanese Market.
Growth of influencer marketing
Traditional marketing channels that have been popular in the past are no longer the best fit for future digital strategies. Compared to other marketing methods, influencer marketing usage has seen a steady rise in Japan as brands can connect closely with potential customers and increasingly reach audiences who are no longer accessible via traditional channels.
The appeal of influencer marketing for brands is further strengthened by the ability to measure the effectiveness of influencer content and the advantages of carrying out campaigns with limited budgets.
In addition, according to Digital InFact, the market size of influencer marketing has been increasing year by year in Japan. Influencer marketing is clearly headed towards taking a more dominant position in marketing spend.
How to approach the Japanese E-commerce market?
In comparison to other countries, Japanese customers require more product details while shopping online and they also demand credibility from product advertisements. They are much more likely to trust real people and their reputation than the brand itself, and for sponsored ads, the official hashtag #pr is usually used to show transparency. Here is a recent example by kurodamayukaxx:
Influencers must be relevant
It is essential to identify a partner influencer who has an affinity with the industry and would be suitable for your future campaign. In Japan, do not assume a certain type of influencer would work for your new product promotion based on similar influencer types back home. Your chosen influencer’s audience needs to align closely with your target market and goals, and even an extensive search on Google is not going to provide the results you need.
The key is authenticity
Authenticity is an important factor for successful influencer marketing in any country. You need to find an influencer who understands the product and can build a strong relationship of trust with your target market. As your influencer will be engaging and commenting in Japanese, you’re going to need someone to check and identify influencers who innately possess the brand values you are looking to promote, especially if this is your first campaign in Japan.
Choose platforms strategically
Choosing the right platform is also crucial for implementing influencer marketing.
Instagram is the most popular choice for brand campaigns due to its user base of 37 million users in Japan and a penetration rate of 64% among people aged 20 to 29 years old. Apart from the highly accurate ad targeting, another massive appeal is that in 2020, over 58.1% of Instagram users are women which is almost 10% higher than the other main platforms.
Brands often equate Instagram with influencer marketing, but remember it is by no means the only option: YouTube and Twitter have consistently retained huge numbers of monthly active users over the last five years despite the rise of Instagram. The important thing to consider is which platform could be the most effective for your Japanese market goals and how trusted it is in the eyes of your target market.
Recent developments in delivery and payment infrastructure and the effects of Covid-19 have encouraged further growth in the e-commerce sector in Japan. Influencer marketing has become an effective way to communicate the quality of products directly to customers especially during times when people are working from home and unable to view the traditional advertisements seen on commutes to the office. By keeping in mind each point that we covered in this article, you will have an edge over the competition and can compete on a more level playing field.
We specialise in Japanese influencer marketing and can help you maximize the effectiveness of your next campaign. If you require any assistance with planning it out, please contact us here.