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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Number of Web Users in Japan Reaches 7.2 Million
  • October 26, 1998 (TOKYO) — The number of users of the World Wide Web in Japan was 7.2 million people nationwide, or 6.8 percent of all people aged 16 or over, at the end of September 1998.
    These were the findings of a survey conducted by Nikkei Market Access, a subscriber information service, about trends in information technology.

    In the latest survey*1), the number of Web users was 14 percent higher than in the previous survey conducted at the end of March 1998 (see chart 1). However, in comparison with the same period a year ago, the rate of growth has slowed. From March to September 1997, the number of Web users increased by as much as 59 percent.

    The survey reveals that use of the Web in the home is expanding at a slower pace. In addition to the need for richer content to attract more users, the cost of telecommunication charges for residential users appears to be a major deterrent to widespread use of the Web in Japan.

    The number of Internet users*2), including all those who are using either the Web or email services, has reached 11.5 million, or 11.0 percent of the population. The number of people using online services*2), including but not restricted to Internet services, has reached 14 million, or 13.4 percent.

    In regard to the access location, 25 percent of users access the Web at home only, 37 percent access the Web outside the home only and 38 percent access the Web both at home and outside the home. That is, the distribution is 63 percent for residential use and 75 percent for non-residential use of the Web.

    Compared with the survey six months ago, residential use is down by 3 percentage points, and non-residential use has increased by 12 percentage points, indicating a shift toward use of the Web in workplaces and other locations outside the home.

    By age, male respondents were predominantly in their thirties, and the age spread was from early twenties to late forties (see chart 2). Females were mostly in their twenties, and most used the Web at work. Other findings, such as the fact that over 10 percent of previous users no longer use the Web, show that usage in Japan is still a long way from forming a pattern of sustained growth.

    The number of people using the Internet for email increased by 27 percent since the March survey, outstripping the rate of growth in the number of Web users. This indicates that email is becoming steadily more popular as a means of communication that people can’t do without once they start.

    *1) Survey methodology

    The survey targeted men and women aged 16 years or over throughout Japan. It was conducted by telephone interview in late September 1998.

    The survey covered the whole country, which was divided into 20 different sampling zones. Respondents were selected by random sampling from a telephone book database for each zone. A total of 1,000 men and 1,000 women were interviewed, for a total sample of 2,000.

    Surveys are conducted half-yearly to assess the rate of Internet penetration in Japan. The first was at the end of March 1997; the current survey is the fourth.

    (return to news)

    *2) Definitions
    For the purposes of the survey, “Internet user” is defined as a person who used the Internet for either of its two main uses, the World Wide Web or email, at least once during the past month. “User of online services” is defined as a person who used either the Internet or some other form of online service at least once during the past month.

    (return to news)

    Related story: Japan Has 6.3M Internet Users; Internet Boom Subsides

    (Nikkei Market Access)

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