Even mobile e-commerce – which has been a bust elsewhere – is starting to take off in Japan. More than a third of mobile Net subscribers have used their phones to buy such goods as CDs and concert tickets, according to the Mobile Content Forum, an industry trade group. One site, called Blondie, lets shoppers scan bar codes in magazines with their phones to order items appearing in ads. Blondie’s turnover: nearly $50,000 a day. A sister site devoted to perfume rings up $170,000 in monthly sales. “People love shopping on their cell phones,” says Katsuhisa Oda, general manager of Index Corp., which owns the two sites. Mobile e-commerce revenues in Japan are expected to top $1.4 billion in 2003, 40% more than last year, according to Mobile Content Forum. Continue
COMMENTARY: This news is old hat to anyone here, but the story is a well-written summary of who’s making money and how on Japan’s and Korea’s wireless webs. Interesting factoid: Japan’s three carriers rang up USD$9.9 billion in traffic fees last year, up 62% from 2001. This story well wroth reading entirely as it describes the current ring tone and other content download business, as well as the new “camera-phone-as-scanner” shopping systems (the current crop of handset high-res displays can also show a bar code coupon that can be scanned by a POS terminal scanner to provide a discount on a non-e-com purchase). There is, unfortunately, little mention of how advertisers are using Japan’s wireless webs as advertising, promotional, and marketing platforms, also a large revenue-generating component of i-mode, J-Sky, and EZweb.