Japanese Crypto Newbies ‘Flock to Mercari, Rakuten Wallet’ – Survey

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read
The Japanese flag and a large pile of golden coins intended to represent Bitcoin against the background of a trading platform chart.
Source: mehaniq41/Adobe

First-time Japanese crypto investors are most likely to choose exchanges operated by Mercari and Rakuten, a new study has found.

The survey was conducted by Mobile Marketing Data Labo, who asked 30,000 Japanese men and women aged between 20 and 69 about their crypto exchange experiences in November.

Only 11% of respondents said they had ever used a crypto exchange. And 1,728 respondents said they had started using crypto exchange services in 2023.

The vast majority of this number said they had opted for services provided by the commerce giants Mercari and Rakuten.

Japanese crypto newbies, people who started trading coins at the end of 2022, overwhelmingly chose Mercari’s Bitcoin Trading app (24.7%) or Rakuten’s Rakuten Wallet platform (24.2%).

The traditional market leader, bitFlyer, placed third with 11.3% of the share.

A graph showing trading volumes on the bitFlyer crypto exchange over the past 12 months.
Trading volumes on the bitFlyer crypto exchange over the past 12 months. (Source: CoinGecko)

What Is Drawing Newer Japanese Crypto Investors to Mercari & Rakuten?

There was grim reading for two of the industry’s hard-hitting players, Coincheck and SBI VC Trade.

Both are operated by well-funded, crypto-keen securities operators, but respectively claimed 10.6% and 8.2% of the newbie pie.

The trends were just as pronounced in the group of 1,675 respondents who said they had been trading coins for less than a year.

Almost 27% of this group said they were Rakuten Wallet users, with almost 21% picking Mercari – and bitFlyer in third with 12%.

Both Rakuten and Mercari have attempted to link their crypto trading arms with their loyalty point programs.

This approach appears to have brought success for both firms: Respondents said that the “convenience” of being able to trade loyalty points for crypto was a draw.

Big Crypto Moves from Japanese Biz Giants?

Mercari’s crypto services launched early this year and hit the 1 million user mark in October.

In July this year, Mercari claimed to have “more than 22 million” monthly active users.

For its part, Rakuten claimed in September this year that it had just short of 41 million monthly active users.

Rakuten Wallet allows customers to exchange the points they earn by trading on Rakuten Market (or by spending money with Rakuten Card accounts) into crypto.

In June, Rakuten announced it would let its users top up their e-pay accounts with their crypto holdings.