Japanese mobile payments taking off as online wallet ownership grows by almost 20% this year, says GlobalData

The number of consumers in Japan, who own a mobile wallet, has grown by almost 20% this year; indicating that the country’s use of mobile payments is taking off, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Arnie Cho, Senior Payments Analyst APAC at GlobalData, comments: “It is surprising that an economy as developed and advanced as Japan’s still has cash as its most widely used payment method. However, we are seeing great strides in the shift away from cash, especially with the adoption of mobile payments.”

GlobalData’s 2019 Consumer Payments Survey has found that there has been a significant change in the ownership and usage of mobile wallets in the country, with 26% of consumers actively using mobile payments to make transactions. Additionally, 19.5% of customers stated that they do not currently have a mobile wallet but are interested in getting one, which has increased by almost 10% over the previous year.

Cho continued: “There has been a significant change in the ownership and usage of mobile wallets in Japan, with the number of Japanese consumers saying that they are not interested in the technology dropping by 17.5% to 26.5%. In addition, the awareness of mobile wallets has increased by more than 10%.”

GlobalData’s Payment Instrument Analytics database confirmed that Japanese consumers remain loyal to cash, which accounted for 79.4% of payment transaction volume in 2018. However, this situation has started to change. For instance, there has been plenty of activity from wallet providers such as Yahoo Japan and SoftBank’s PayPay, which spent the equivalent of $182m over two separate cashback campaigns to encourage mobile payment usage.

Cho adds: “Observers of the payment industry are usually puzzled when they look at the Japanese market, often wondering why consumers in a market as advanced as Japan still have a preference for cash – however as we have observed things are changing”.

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