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Global Media Intelligence 2020: Japan

Key Features

By global standards, penetration of most digital devices and behaviors is low in Japan.

  • Japan is a highly industrialized country with robust traditions of manufacturing, technological expertise, and innovation. Yet its consumers aren’t in the forefront of many device adoption trends.
  • For example, smartphone ownership has yet to pass 90% in Japan, but it did rise to 88.2% of internet users ages 16 to 64 in H1 2020, per GlobalWebIndex polling. One reason for this relatively low figure is that advanced feature phones were introduced to the Japanese market early and enjoyed substantial takeup.
  • Desktop/laptop ownership declined between H1 2019 and H1 2020, from 75.6% to 74.3%, and is mostly concentrated among older individuals. Nearly 83% of respondents ages 55 to 64 owned a desktop/laptop in H1 2020, versus 65.9% of those in the 16-to-24 age group. The opposite was true for smartphone owners: More than 96% of the youngest group owned one, compared with 82.8% of 55- to 64-year-olds. Affluents were more likely to own smartphones and PCs.
  • Ownership of tablets also remained high among respondents in the most affluent households (36.0%), but they have never really appealed to a significant share of internet users in Japan. Penetration across demographics was just 27.5% in H1 2020, a slight decline from last year.
  • Smart TV ownership was also markedly low at 7.5%. Similarly, the share of internet users who owned a smart home product, such as a web-enabled energy monitoring system, slipped from 3.9% to 3.5%. Meanwhile, penetration of smartwatches and smart wristbands did rise marginally to 4.8% and 1.8%, respectively. Higher income correlated strongly with takeup of all these devices.


Karin von Abrams


Anam Baig
Senior Editor
Joanne DiCamillo
Donte Gibson
Chart Editor
Kathleen Hamblin
Chart Editorial Manager
Dana Hill
Director of Production
Erika Huber
Copy Editor
Magenta Ranero
Senior Chart Editor
Hilary Rengert
VP, Research Strategy
Amanda Silvestri
Senior Copy Editor
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