June 18th, 2008
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Mobile payment and Japanese men

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“I cannot live without mobile Suica,” says a male friend in 30s. He said he basically stopped carrying coins, which used to occupy his trouser pockets.

This sounds like a great success story. Mobile Suica service enabled him to use his mobile phone for small payments and have replace his heavy coins. But how widely is this phenomena spread?

According to Ke-tai White Paper 2008′s survey report, 60% of their respondents told they have a phone capable of the feature. Among them, 15% actually uses mobile payment. That is not really high. Partly I blame this to the tedious registration process that you have to go through. Considering how easy it is to get one of those Suica cards in JR stations, I clearly see that there is a room for improvement.

One interesting finding was the usage rate differences between genders. Men using mobile payment reached 20% while women 10%; in particular, for men between 10 and 19, the usage rate reached 30%.

The same report also talks about how much they spend per payment. 80% told that a typical payment is below 1000 yen (about 6 EUR). Since in Japan the smallest bill is 1000 yen, it exactly confirms my friend’s earlier comment: These cards replace coins.

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