September 5, 2023
The pandemic has pushed consumers toward increased online shopping across the world. This is certainly true of both Japan and Taiwan, though the dominant platforms in each country differ. 83% of Japanese and 88% of Taiwanese use online shopping, according to survey data from GMO Research. Particularly given the need to avoid going outside, this has encouraged the use of food delivery services, with this constituting 36.4% of online shopping in Japan and 54.1% of online shopping in Taiwan. At the same time, Japanese consumers may be more used to buying books, DVDs, and stationery online as well, seeing as this is 39.7% of online shopping. Clothing, make-up, and electronics are other significant categories that consumers in both places buy online.
However, with the changing times, there is also growth in online banking and mobile payments. In both Japan and Taiwan, there is one clear leader in terms of online payments. This is PayPay in Japan, while this is LINE Pay in Taiwan, with PayPay occupying 71.2% in Japan and LINE Pay occupying 74.2% of the market in Taiwan. PX Pay and JKOS Pay are close competitors for LINE Pay in Taiwan, with PX Pay at 53.8% of usage, and 45.1%, though for Japan other competitors occupy less than 30% of the market.
There are slight differences regarding the situations in which Taiwanese consumers use mobile payments. Use at convenience stores, supermarkets, and chain restaurants is common in both, which makes sense considering that these are establishments both found in Japan and Taiwan. However, compared to Japanese consumers, Taiwanese consumers more commonly also use mobile payments at department stores, to pay for taxi cabs, forms of public transport, and in night markets and smaller non-chain stores. One of the notable exceptions to this trend is that Japanese consumers more commonly use mobile payments to pay for makeup and cosmetics.
With the growth in online banking, 80% of people surveyed in Taiwan use online banking, while 70% use online banking apps. This is similar in Japan, where 60% use online banking, but there are slightly more people that use online banks compared to those that use apps, at 38.7% to 35.6%. Use of web banking increasingly trends higher for older users in Japan, perhaps indicating that the use of apps for banking is slower to catch on among older individuals in Japan.
With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly in sight, with borders reopening and international tourism once again a thing, it can be expected that these trends are here to stay. COVID-19 led to the introduction of a number of new practices, including remote work from home, and increased use of UberEats, FoodPanda, Grab, or other food delivery services. But online shopping, mobile payments, and online or app-based banking have the potential to shape future consumer interactions in Japan, Taiwan, and other markets–survey data leads to valuable insight into these changes.