Japanese E-money Marketshare & Apple Pay

More interesting Apple Pay related Japanese market data, this time from Creco Research. Their February survey sample is only 100 people but it is a helpful take on the where the e-money market is three months after Apple Pay and one month after Android Pay launched  in Japan. Like the previous market information post, I suspect the results would be the same with a much larger sample.

CRECO Chart 1

Pie chart #1 shows the breakdown of e-money payment systems the survey participants have.

  1. Suica (Apple Pay): 20%
  2. nananco: 15%
  3. WAON:15%
  4. Rakuten Edy (Android Pay): 14%
  5. au WALLET: 9%
  6. QUICPay (Apple Pay): 8%
  7. PASMO: 7%
  8. iD (Apple Pay): 7%
  9. ICOCA: 5%

It’s not surprising that JR East’s Suica is the most widely held e-money payment system but the upside for Apple Pay users is that all the transit payment systems, Suica, PASMO, iCOCA are compatible with each other.

CRECO Chart 2

Pie chart #2 lists usage: where do you use e-money?

  1. Convenience store: 25%
  2. Transit: 23%
  3. Station stores: 17%
  4. Vending machine: 16%
  5. Supermarket: 14%

Transit use is also the lead here, transit and station stores combined are 40% and probably represents most of the vending machine use as well.

CRECO Chart 3

Pie chart #3 asks what is the merit of using e-money.

  1. No need for cash: 29%
  2. Convenience: 28%
  3. Points: 26%
  4. No more lining up to buy transit tickets: 15%
CRECO Chart 4

The last Pie chart is Apple Pay Use: most respondents do not have iPhone 7/Apple Watch Series 2 required to use Apple Pay Japan, but roughly half that do have those devices do not as yet use Apple Pay.

Wrap up
The key takeaway is that public transit is a perfect fit for e-money payment systems such as Suica. NFC infrastructure is ubiquitous in Japanese transit from ticket gates to station store and has been around for a long time. Not surprisingly it is used the most.

But there are still too many holdouts: smaller stores to the Walmart owed Seiyu like grocery chains do not have NFC payment infrastructure in place and this is holding back wider use of e-money payments. There is a lot more work to do if Japan wants to showcase e-money payments to world at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.