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Retail e-commerce surged 20% in Japan since 2019, but there is still room for growth in the country where consumers go shopping online less frequently than those in other countries.

Consumer e-commerce hits a brick wall in Japan

After growing 20% since 2019, online shopping has stalled as COVID curbs ease

HIROKI OBAYASHI and KAZUYA MANABE, Nikkei staff writers | Japan

TOKYO -- Japan's e-commerce market has lost momentum after growing more than 20% since 2019. Demand for online shopping surged as consumers hunkered down at home to avoid COVID-19, but the quick end to the spending spree has dashed hopes that online retail will become a new engine of economic growth.

E-commerce grew about 20% between 2019 and 2021, according to an index compiled by Japanese analytics company Nowcast and JCB based on credit card spending. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications for the same period found an increase of nearly 30% in e-commerce.

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