Survey: E-Commerce Booming in Japan

The Japanese business to consumer (B2C) electronic commerce market is booming and achieving faster growth than previously predicted, reports a joint survey by the Electronic Commerce Promotion Council of Japan and Andersen Consulting.

From the results of the survey which was published yesterday, the two organizations declared 1999 to be the year when Japan's e-commerce market began accelerating for a fully-fledged takeoff.

The survey estimated the B2C e-commerce sector was worth 336 billion yen (US$3.2 billion) in 1999. The figure is a 420 percent jump on the 1998 estimate of 64.5 billion yen, helped partly by the addition of a new sector to the survey: real estate. With real estate taken out, the sector was worth 248 billion yen in 1999; a 280 percent increase.

Online real estate and automobile sales services contribution the largest slices of the market at present and together account for around half the total, said the survey. Following are personal computers and peripherals, with the financial services and foods and services areas also showing strong growth.

For the future, the survey predicts the B2C e-commerce market in Japan will hit 4.4 trillion yen in 2003 and 6.7 trillion yen in 2004. Within four years the automobile, travel and real estate segments of the market are forecasted to each top 1 trillion yen in value. But even with such strong market growth, e-commerce services will only represent 2 percent of household consumption in 2004, the survey said.

The survey was conducted between October and December 1999 by questionnaire.

Responses were received from around 500 companies and detailed follow-up interviews were held with 25 companies, the Electronic Commerce Promotion Council of Japan said in a statement.

Andersen Consulting, in Chicago, can be contacted at +1-312-693-0161, or at http//www.ac.com. The Electronic Commerce Promotion Council of Japan, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-5531-0061, or at http://www.ecom.or.jp.

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