By global standards, penetration of most digital devices and behaviors remains surprisingly low in Japan.
Smartphone ownership among Japan’s internet users ages 16 to 64 has finally surpassed 90%, per polling in H1 2021. During the same period, feature phone penetration dropped to single figures for the first time (8.0%). Because advanced feature phones were introduced to the Japanese market more than a decade ago, it’s taken a fairly long period for smartphones to win over olderpeople, in particular.
Desktop/laptop ownership also rose between H1 2020 and H1 2021 but remains concentrated among males, older individuals, and the affluent. More than 80% of males owned a desktop/laptop this year, for example, versus 71.9% of females.
Tablet ownership was greatest in the most affluent households, at 37.4%, but lagged behind many other advanced economies, at just 29.6% of the online population in H1 2021.
Smart TV ownership was extraordinarily low at 9.0%, and the share of internet users who owned a smart home product, such as a web-enabled security system, rose only modestly, to 4.3%. Penetration of smartwatches and smart wristbands also inched up year over year (YoY) but remained minimal by global standards, at 6.2% and 2.3%, respectively. As in prior years, takeup of all these devices was greater in higher-income homes, but even there interest appeared very limited.