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Twitter's Popularity in Japan Rivals Facebook

Social network penetration low compared with other advanced markets

May 17, 2013

Consumers in Japan have been lukewarm on social networks compared with other similarly internet-advanced economies. According to eMarketer estimates, the percent of the population on social networks in Japan this year—38%—will be lower than in South Korea, the US, most of the Western European countries and even Russia and Brazil.

But Twitter is proving to be an exception to this tepid social activity. Microblogging is especially popular in Japan, and Twitter has been able to tap into this affinity. According to goo Research, in February 2013, 36% of the country’s internet users ages 10 or older used Twitter. That was only 3 percentage points behind Facebook penetration. mixi, a homegrown social network, placed third.

Social Networks Used by Internet Users in Japan, Feb 2013 (% of respondents)

Q1 2013 data from GlobalWebIndex confirmed this distribution, with Twitter seeing 33% penetration among internet users to Facebook’s 36%.

Even as Twitter shows particular strength in Japan, however, Facebook is increasingly pulling in users. eMarketer estimates Facebook will grow by 43% this year in the country. Worldwide, only India, Brazil and Russia are expected to see higher Facebook growth rates.

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