In 2010, Japan's population was a little over 128 million people, according to census data. But only 4.68 million people in the country were on Facebook - a paltry percent that shows the worldwide giant which boasts 900+ users has a lot of work to do to penetrate what could be a lucrative market.
Now, it appears that things may be looking up. According to eMarketer data, users engagement is growing pretty fast, up 61.6% as 7.6 million people in Japan logged on to Facebook at least once a month in 2011.
The figures project even more growth in the coming years, as they expect Japanese users to grow by 51.5% in 2011, 43% in 2013, and 18.7% in 2014 - which would see the country with nearly 20 million users by the end of the projections.
Although 20 million users would still only amount to 15.4% of the total population, eMarketer quotes a recent survey that shows Japan's Facebook users (however small) are making it count:
According to a February 2012 Macromill survey of Facebook users in Japan, translated by What Japan Thinks, more than half (52.8%) of Facebook users in Japan accessed the site on a daily basis, while a quarter accessed at least twice a day.
What Japan Thinks reported that the percentage of users logging in twice a day or more tripled over last year’s figure of 8.6%. And users aren’t just logging on more often; they are spending more time on the site as well: 28% spent an average of 30 minutes or more on the site each time they logged on.
In a market that's struggling with adoption, Facebook can take comfort in quality of quantity when it comes to their users.
Facebook's problem in Japan (and other Asia-Pacific countries) has been well documented. A study of the reasons behind the problem by TechInAsia cites a lack of security and a complicated user interface. Also, the Japanese tend to value anonymity, and Facebook simply doesn't provide what they're accustomed to. If Facebook can begin to make ground in Japan, it could be great for the company as they can work to turn the newly engaged user base into a profitable one.