Online Shopping Apps : Japan vs USA


Online Shopping nowadays plays an essential part of our everyday lives. So much that conventional window shopping may soon fade away and we, one day, may be unable to live without it. The busy life of these days and access to the internet are probably the primary reasons why people have moved towards a much more convenient method to fulfill their shopping needs.

Amazon and eBay are probably one of the biggest online shopping applications that come to the mind but that is quite a different story in Japan. Putting Amazing aside, Japanese tend to show more interest towards domestic apps as we will see later in this article.

The contents of the article are focused on online shopping applications in Japan and the US. In particular, this article examines and highlights the differences in behavior, activity, demographics and other indicators of Android shopping apps in both countries in November 2018 in terms of Monthly Active Users (MAU) with the help of App Ape – Japan’s No1. Mobile Application Analysis Platform.

Amazon, the Top and the Only Common App in Both Countries

As seen in the table above, Amazon stands on the top of shopping category charts in November in US and Japan. In this section, we will look at the differences in the app’s user activity between the two countries.

The graph below which has been created by App Ape’s Compare App tool represents the monthly active users of Amazon in Japan and the US. As clearly seen, the number of active users in the US is by far higher than to that of Japan’s which is reasonable due to the big population difference. What is interesting to note here is that American Amazon users have been falling down since February. On the other hand, Japan market has been seeing a steady rate over the past year with no significant fall or increase in number of MAUs.

The images below represent the active rate per day and per month for both countries in November 2019. Active Rate refers to how many users who own and have a certain app installed on their phone actually per month (MAR).

As seen below, MAR is almost the same for both countries in November. MAR stood at 57.1% and 61% for Japan and US respectively. In other words, 57.1% and 61% of users in Japan and the US who own the Amazon application were active in the month of November.

Gender and Age ratio analysis is another essential indicator in application market provided by App Ape. Based on the graphs below it can be seen that the dominant active users of Amazon in Japan are males with 64% whereas the ratio is almost equally divided between both female and male users with 50.1% and 49.9% respectively.

The most interesting thing about the age ratio data is that amongst male users the app is most popular with “40s” group in Japan while the dominant male user group in the US are in their 20s. The same applies to female users as well.

Amazon US : Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s Impact

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, well-known shopping terms needing no explanation, have been helping Amazon make billions of sales each year.

The data gathered by App Ape indicate a remarkably continuous increase in Daily Active Users (DAU) of the app from 15th of November (which is one week right before the Black Friday sales) until the actually Black Friday, 23rd, where it reached its peak in November. This sudden change amounted over 50% growth in users in only 1 week.

That is not the end! Amazon DAUs in November saw another boost in numbers on 26th when the Cyber Monday sale happened. Compared to the previous day (25th), DAUs sharply rose almost 26% to just a little below the peak value on 23rd. And according to the news, this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday broke Amazon’s sales records (CBS, Aimee Picchi, Nov. 27 2018).

Rakuten : head to head with Mercari

Rakuten, meaning “optimism” in Japanese , is e-commerce platform born in Japan that offers online shopping services. Rakuten app was 3rd in November MAU rankings. Mercari, a marketplace to buy and sell new and used items, was ranked 2nd.

The two apps, as seen above, have been competing hard to secure the second place in MAU charts and rankings over the past few months. While Rakuten had been securing the 2nd position for around 2 years, it lost the position to Mercari in August and has not earned it back since then.

Yahoo!, another popular online shopping platform, though being far away from competition and reaching second or even third position, has had a steady growth of MAUs over the past 2 years. Will it someday replace Rakuten or Mercari? We will have to wait and see.

Fierce Competition in US

Wish, currently ranked 2nd, is a shopping app which is available on desktop as well. As seen below, the app’s MAUs have been increasing since last year and the app beat Walmart in rankings in May where it saw a substantial growth in number of users. Walmart, a well-know global supermarket chain, has also more or less been growing over the past year and was able to reach to almost to the same level as Wish’s MAUs in November.

eBay, on the other hand, has been experiencing a fall in MAUs since April. Once above Walmart and Wish in rankings, it has now fallen behind and is currently 3rd in US Top 5 shopping category charts.

Based on the data gathered by App Ape’s Compare tool (below), it can be concluded that over the past year Wish has had the biggest boost in MAUs

What may be more important to note here is that, with the help of App Ape’s Usage Ranking tool, it’s has been found, as seen above, that Walmart climbed up the US rankings to replace eBay and secure 3rd place in November 2018.

The data presented in this article have been collected by App Ape, a mobile app data analytical platform which is the leader of the industry in Japan with more than 5000 clients around the globe.

The various data demonstrated in this article is just a small portion of what APP Ape is capable of analyzing. App Ape, consisting of more than 50 indicators, provides detailed and accurate data usage in 7 countries. The indicators include daily, hourly active users (DAU, HAU), number of daily installs, demographics, mutual app possession rate and many many more.

Subscription to App Ape services is free which allows access to basic data. App Ape has recently introduced a self-serve service where users can personally look at paid-subscription plans on their user profile and choose the plan that fits their needs.

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