Consumer Affairs Agency, Government Of Japan
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White Paper on Consumer Affairs 2014 [Summary]

Part 1 Today’s consumer issues and consumers’ behavior/attitude

Chapter 2 【Feature2】Consumer issues and development of ICT
- How consumers cope with the Internet society -

Section 1 Today’s information and communication society

E-commerce and the information and communications industry play increasingly important roles in the economy

The e-commerce market grew more than 2.5-fold from about ¥3.5 trillion in 2005 to about ¥9.5 trillion in 2012. The information and communications industry accounts for an increasing part of Japan’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Figure 2-1-5 E-commerce market grew more than 2.5 times in size over seven years

Figure 2-1-6 Information and communications industry accounts for an increasing part of Japan’s GDP

A shift to smartphones is driving the growth of the smartphone and mobile commerce market

As more consumers have replaced their traditional mobile phones with smartphones in recent years, the mobile content market for smartphones and other mobile terminals is rapidly growing. The market expanded about 4.6- fold in a year, from ¥80.6 billion in 2011 to ¥371.7 billion in 2012.

Figure 2-1-9 A shift to smartphones is driving the growth of the smartphone and mobile commerce market

Figure 2-1-10 Mobile content market for smartphones expanded 4.6-fold in a year

A wider variety of payment methods are used, including online payment by credit card

As to the payment method used for Internet shopping, more than half of consumers said they have used credit card payments in the past year, and the percentage of such consumers increased from the level at the end of 2011.

Payment methods are diversifying with a wide variety of options available, including cash on delivery, as well as payment at convenience stores, at teller windows/ATMs at banks or post offices, and through online banking.

Figure 2-1-15 Payment by credit card is the most common payment method for Internet shopping, chosen by 52.6%

Consumer problems are increasing along with the spread of communications services

Driven by the recent advancement of information and communications technology, communications services are more widely used and increasing in sophistication and complexity. This has resulted in the continued increase in consultations on these services. The number of consumer affairs consultations on telecommunication services received by local consumer affairs centers across Japan increased about 1.7-fold, from about 24,000 in FY 2009 to about 40,000 in FY 2013.

A marked increase has been seen in the number of consultations on “Internet connection lines,” especially for the elderly. Another common source of problems is optional services offered when consumers sign up for smartphones.

Figure 2-2-2 Consultations on communications services are increasing

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