Cloud News & Insights

Mobile Services and Fixed Internet Use in Japan

Japanese lady happily talking on her mobile phone

As with other mature mobile markets, smartphone adoption and advanced mobile services are on the upswing in Japan. Email and social media are the most important mobile internet services in Japan today. Other services like search or reference services, are not as popular on mobile platforms as much as they are on desktop devices. At least in Japan, mobile and desktop online services are used to complement each other’s strengths.

Smartphones and Japanese society

In Japan, the number of subscribers for mobile internet services is enormous, and far above the number in other developed nations. Even going back to 2009, surveys showed that already about three fourths of Japanese internet users used both mobile and desktop devices, and about ten percent of all Japanese users accessed the internet only on their mobile device. This means that in Japan, most people’s contact with the internet is often primarily through a mobile device, contrary to what happens in the West.

Strategies enacted in 2010 have resulted in the widespread availability of advanced network services and some of the world’s most advanced broadband and communications services. This initiative has the objective of keeping Japan competitive despite the fact that the population is shrinking due to aging. In fact, Japan has the second highest use of this technology in the whole world.

Japan’s unique mobile culture

Studies carried out as far back as 2002 have found that the mobile phone in Japan has an important function in keeping families together and strengthening the bonds between non-related friends. Even people that have frequent face to face contact are very likely to use mobile devices to communicate regularly. Because of this, the mobile phone has a much more important social role than the PC or the internet itself. Keitai culture (or mobile culture) in Japan is unique in that it seems to have originated from Nagara, a Japanese tradition of multitasking and doing different things while being mobile. Japanese media users tend to avoid direct communication, usually engaging in short message services (SMS) or in social media networks rather than calling each other directly. This has caused mobile internet to be an essential part of younger society in Japan.

Differences in PC and mobile internet use in Japan

Focusing on how computer users access the internet can lead to valuable insights on the role of social media in Japanese society. In general, research has demonstrated that Japanese users use their PC for information services while communication and entertainment are usually handled through mobile platforms. There are several possible reasons for this. First of all, mobile and desktop devices are usually used at different locations. However, it is important to note that the mobile is still frequently used at home, meaning that being far from a desktop computer is not the main reason that people are using their mobiles. One reason for the prevalence of desktop use to gather information is the ease of use of a larger screen and keyboard. But the mobile phone has a stronger personal connection with the internet user, leading to a preference for this device when it comes to things like entertainment and communication.

Any mobile oriented marketing strategy in Japan should take into account the differences between mobile and desktop technology use in the consumer. Fixed internet devices are mostly used for information and job-related tasks. The wide availability of high speed internet and advanced smartphones has resulted in the use of mobile devices for almost all entertainment and communications related tasks.

Be Part of Our Cloud Conversation

Our articles are written to provide you with tools and information to meet your IT and cloud solution needs. Join us on Facebook and Twitter.


About the Guest Author:

Nida Rasheed

Nida Rasheed is a freelance writer and owner of an outsourcing company, Nida often finds herself wanting to write about the subjects that are closest to her heart. She lives in Islamabad, Pakistan and can be found on Twitter @nidarasheed.

Share on LinkedIn