A recent survey by Adobe [J] took a look at the current relationship between digital content and the Japanese consumer. We’ll highlight some key findings, some that have significant disparity compared to consumers in other large markets.

Japanese consumers are far less likely to purchase from a brand’s website

Purchase channels for Japanese Consumers

The majority of Japanese consumers go to a shopping site (Yahoo! Shopping, Rakuten, Amazon, etc.) when purchasing a product online.

This is a big difference in purchasing behavior when we consider that 44% of American, 56% of Australian and 49% of Indian consumers use the brand’s site.

This is likely due to a variety of reasons, but one of the key factors could be seen in the same survey.

Japanese consumers don’t have good experiences with brands online

Mediocre to poor experiences with a brand’s website may be one reason why fewer Japanese choose to make a purchase there.

Q: How was your recent experience with a brand website?

Recent experience with brand websites for Japanese consumers

Only 16% of Japanese consumers online have reported having an above average experience with a brand’s website. This is significantly lower than consumers surveyed in other markets.

In comparison, 45% of American, 35% of Australian and 75% of Indian consumers said that they had a good experience with a brand’s website in the same survey.

Japanese are particularly judgmental when it comes to copywriting. It is by far the most annoying problem when it comes to brand content.

Q: What do you fine most unpleasant about content from brands?

Most annoying problems in content from brands, according to Japanese consumers

For Japanese consumers 65 years old and up, 60% answered that poorly written content is the most annoying.

This is important because in the same survey, 75% of Japanese consumers reported that these annoyances would prevent them from making a purchase from the brand.

Brands must walk a fine line between context and personalization in Japan

Over-personalization can be seen as creepy and this is the second most annoying problem reported by Japanese consumers when it comes to content. When content has just the right amount of personalization, however, brands can persuade Japanese consumers quite well.

Q: What action do you take when coming across personalized content from brands?

Actions taken by Japanese consumers as a result of personalized content from brands

On the flip side, 32% report that they’d be less likely to make a purchase if content isn’t contextually relevant to them.

Japanese consumers trust content from an official news source the most.

When looking at sources of information, Japanese trust established news sources the most and their family, friends and peers second.

Here’s the type of content Japanese trust versus the type they share.

Content that Japanese consumers trust versus content they’re likely to share

Most Japanese consumers trust social media content

Globally, trust in social media has taken a hit in the era of fake news. It’s not amongst the most trusted types of content in Japan either, but the majority, 56%, reported trusting social media.

The social networks that Japanese consumers trust varies slightly by demographic.

Social media trust by social network for Japanese consumers

Overall, YouTube is the most trusted channel. Trust tends to increase in the younger demographics as only 23% of those 18-34 years old say they don’t trust any social media channels. While around half of consumers in the older demographics aren’t comfortable sharing personal information with brands, only about 30% in the younger group report being uncomfortable.

Also of note is that 25% in the 18-34 year old demographic reported using social networks to research product purchases, ranking above online review sites and the brand’s website.

For more about media and the Japanese consumer in 2019, check out our free report:


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