Japan Data

Sharing Economy Booming in Japan as Customer-to-Customer Market Grows to ¥1 Trillion


The soaring popularity of flea market applications like Mercari has seen online trade between individuals grow into a ¥1 trillion market.

In fiscal 2016, the customer-to-customer market for goods in Japan was worth an estimated ¥656.8 billion, according to Tokyo firm Yano Research Institute. The C2C goods market—based on transactions between individuals generally via the Internet—is projected to have swollen further in fiscal 2017 to ¥995.0 billion.

The services market for fiscal 2016 was dominated by the ¥42.9 billion travel and minpaku (private lodgings) industry. The market for space sharing (including parking lots) was ¥4.5 billion, car sharing ¥1.1 billion, housekeeping and babysitting services ¥1.4 billion, while that for education/lifelong learning was ¥2.4 billion. The forecast for fiscal 2017 indicated that the travel and lodgings sector would almost double to ¥84 billion, while space sharing would rise to ¥7 billion and car sharing to ¥1.5 billion.

According to Yano Research Institute, the rise is driven by the growing popularity of flea market applications like Mercari, which provide a platform for easy online trading between individuals. Usage is growing among young people and housewives in particular.

The results of an e-commerce survey released in April 2018 by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry indicate that many consumers purposefully buy new clothes with the intention of then selling them on through flea markets, so that they can avoid wearing the same clothes over and over in photos they post on social media. Flea market apps are transforming from being just a way of disposing of unneeded items to becoming a new answer to individual demand.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: © Pixta.)

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