TOKYO -- Twitter, Line, Facebook, Instagram -- the list of social media platforms just goes on and on. But while more people in Japan are using social networks, the time they spend on the platforms is tiny compared with users in other countries.
Japan will have 68.72 million users of social networking services by the end of the year, a study by ICT Research and Consulting released Tuesday found. That total is expected to reach 74.86 million by the end of 2018. Though most users typically had been ages 10-20, social media participation is expanding to those in their 40s and 50s.
Yet Japan ranks last in usage, as individuals average 19 minutes a day, according to GlobalWebIndex, a U.K.-based market research company. Users in the Philippines topped the company's survey of 34 markets with a staggering 3 hours, 56 minutes spent daily on social media. South Korea stood second to last at 1 hour and 3 minutes, showing a large gap between Japan and the rest of the world.
"Social media is only used between close friends" in Japan, said professor Yohei Tsunemi, an expert on youth at the Chiba University of Commerce.
Japan's social media use remains limited despite a wide variety of services currently available. But the ways social media are used could change in the near future if the experiences shared become more realistic, such as with Facebook's effort to develop a virtual reality element to its platform.