So, you have decided to try dropshipping, and you are wondering if it’s possible to do it in Japan. Well, the simple answer is: Yes!
Dropshipping can be done anywhere in the world, and Japan is no exception. However, just like for any other country, you will come across some hurdles when trying to do dropshipping in Japan, especially if you don’t speak Japanese.
In this article, we will tell you a couple of things about dropshipping in Japan. You will learn about the demographics in Japan, about the country’s most popular payment methods, and some other handy facts!
At the end of the article, we hope you will be able to decide for yourself whether or not dropshipping in Japan is the right decision for you.
But don’t worry, we’ll also cover a different option; dropshipping from Japan to other countries.
To start answering the question, let’s begin by taking a look at the Japanese ecommerce market:
Should you do dropshipping in Japan?
Before starting an online dropshipping store, it’s recommended to do some research on the country you are planning to target.
Currently, you are reading an article about dropshipping in Japan. Therefore, I assume you are considering starting a dropshipping store in Japan. But should you do dropshipping in Japan?
Well, let’s do some research to find out!
When looking at a few random countries, some will be ideal to do dropshipping in, and others not so much.
So what is the difference? You might ask.
Well, the best countries for dropshipping offer:
- Access to fast shipping methods
- Potential customers with a high disposable income
- Many potential customers, which allows you to scale the business
- A way to easily reach your potential customers with an online marketing method like Facebook Ads
These are all benefits that make dropshipping in a specific country much easier!
To find out whether or not Japan offers these benefits, we are going to examine the following elements for the country:
- The level of logistics development
- The GDP per capita
- The population size
- The social media penetration
Are you ready to find out if you should do dropshipping in Japan?
If so, let’s get started by looking at this infographic:
Don’t worry though; we will go over it in more detail below:
Does Japan offer you access to fast shipping methods?
First things first, let’s look at the level of logistics development in Japan.
One of the most significant pain points of dropshipping stores is the long delivery time.
Fast shipping methods allow you to get the product to your customer quickly and beat your competition.
To find out if Japan offers fast shipping methods, we will look at Japan’s logistics performance index. This is a tool that tracks the performance of the logistics chain for many countries.
A country that scores well on the logistics performance index has efficient custom clearance processes, a great transport-related infrastructure, and competitively priced shipments.
Here, you will see a ranking of the logistics performance index for the world’s top 20 countries:
As you can see, Japan scores pretty well. It is placed 11th in the ranking, while other well-developed countries such as Belgium, France, Norway, and Australia score lower.
This leads us to the conclusion that Japan definitely offers you access to fast shipping methods. They won’t be the fastest in the world, but they will definitely be sufficient!
Do people in Japan have a high disposable income?
Next up, let’s look at the disposable income of people living in Japan.
Just like shipping, this characteristic is important as well since people with a high disposable income are more likely to buy your product.
From a simple Google search, we learn that each capita in Japan earns around $39.3k.
When comparing this to other popular dropshipping countries such as the UK ($47.3k), Germany ($50.8k), and France ($43.5k), the conclusion can be drawn that Japan is pretty close!
As an added bonus, the Japanese actually spend a significant percentage of that income on ecommerce purchases.
A report aiming to answer the question “Who spends the most online?” concluded that Japan ranks 8th in the world, with an ecommerce spend per capita of around $1,488.
Knowing this, I think we can conclude that the disposable income in Japan won’t be a restriction for your dropshipping store!
Are there enough potential customers in Japan?
It’s nice to know that the people you are going to target have money to spend on your products.
However, that wouldn’t matter much if you are selling products in a specific niche, and the market you are targeting is very small. It will cause you to quickly hit the ceiling when scaling your business!
So, is this the case for Japan?
Let’s find out by looking at the following two statistics:
- Japan has a population of around 126 million people.
- Japan’s B2C ecommerce market has more than doubled in size within the last decade.
For comparison, a country like the United States has a population of around 333 million people, while a country like the United Kingdom has a population of around 68 million people.
As they say, let the number do the talking. With a population of 126 million people, you definitely won’t have any problems finding potential customers to target for your dropshipping store in Japan!
When pairing this to the rapid growth of Japan’s ecommerce market, we can conclude that it’s a great market for dropshippers.
When you have found a winning product and are busy scaling your store, ad fatigue is unlikely to occur quickly, and you will have a lot of room to scale your business!
Can you reach customers in Japan with online marketing?
Okay, we have fast shipping methods and a large target market with a high disposable income, but can you reach that market with online marketing?
Well, Japan features a social network penetration of 74.3%. This means that roughly three out of the four inhabitants of Japan can be reached with online marketing campaigns.
While it’s not the highest social network penetration (some countries have scores of 80+%), it’s definitely not terrible.
Actually, Japan has a higher social network penetration than the United States, as you can see in the image. Therefore, reaching your Japanese customers with online marketing shouldn’t be your biggest struggle!
All in all, I think we can conclude that so far, it looks like Japan is a great country to do dropshipping in. There are many consumers with high disposable incomes, and fast shipping methods are available to get your package to the customer safely and quickly.
What are the most popular payment gateways in Japan?
Now, let’s look into the most popular payment gateways in Japan.
If you would like to do dropshipping in Japan, this information is crucial to know. After all, you should offer your customers the payment options they are the most comfortable with!
The most popular payment method in Japan is by far a credit or debit card. These two payment methods are preferred 76% of the time.
Credit and debit cards are followed by post-purchase payment methods, carrier billing (charging the payment to the customer’s phone bill), and e-wallets (PayPal, Google Pay, etc.).
If you want to learn more about the most common payment practices in Japan, you can also check out this article!
Do you have to speak Japanese to do dropshipping in Japan?
So far, Japan is looking like a great country to target for a dropshipping business.
However, can anyone start a successful dropshipping store targeting Japan?
As you may know, Japan isn’t an English-speaking country.
Studies estimate that less than 30 percent of the population speaks English at any level at all. Besides that, research showed that less than eight percent (and possibly as little as two percent) of the population speaks English fluently.
Since so few of the Japanese speak English, building an English dropshipping store in Japan will be a big struggle.
To take full advantage of the market Japan has to offer, you must be able to build your dropshipping store in the Japanese language.
For those that don’t speak or understand Japanese, this will definitely be the most significant factor stopping you from starting a dropshipping store in Japan.
Very few people in Japan speak English, so being able to understand and speak Japanese when starting to do dropshipping in Japan is a must.
Should you use a dropshipping supplier from Japan?
If you want to do dropshipping in Japan, you could choose to use a popular dropshipping supplier based in China, like AliExpress, and simply ship your products to Japan.
However, another option is to use a Japanese dropshipping supplier.
If you know a good Japanese dropshipping supplier with whom you can partner, then I would definitely recommend picking this option.
That’s because using a local dropshipping supplier offers significant benefits compared to a supplier from another country.
Are you curious now about those benefits?
Well, let’s check them out!
What are the benefits of using a dropshipping supplier from Japan?
First and foremost, shipping times.
When using Japanese suppliers, the products you are selling are located in a Japanese warehouse. When a Japanese customer makes an order on your online store, the product won’t have to be imported from another country.
It doesn’t have to pass customs, and the package will have to cover a massively smaller distance compared to a package coming from China.
Because of this, you will often be able to deliver your products to your customers in roughly four or five days using Japanese dropshipping suppliers.
By offering such a relatively fast shipping time for a dropshipping store, you will be differentiating yourself from the competition!
The second benefit is that the return process for your online store can be made much simpler. This is also caused by the fact that the warehouse will be located in the same country as your customer!
Thirdly, local dropshipping suppliers will often provide a better customer service.
For example, if you have ever worked with a Chinese dropshipping supplier, you may have had a bad experience. Some Chinese suppliers may neglect your messages, provide incomprehensible explanations, or lie about the product or shipping times.
Local dropshipping suppliers like Japanese suppliers will often understand that providing an excellent customer service is key for a healthy business relationship. Therefore, they will provide you with things like a great refund policy, 24/7 support, and more!
The 3 best dropshipping suppliers from Japan
Are you excited now about using a Japanese dropshipping supplier, but don’t know of one yet?
Well, then don’t worry yet!
Next up, I will show you a few Japanese suppliers that you can use for your dropshipping store.
However, there is one thing I have to tell you in front.
Since the main language of Japan is Japanese, most of the local dropshipping suppliers will have a Japanese website. Sadly, no one from the Do Dropshipping team speaks Japanese, which is the reason why we are only able to show you three Japanese dropshipping suppliers now.
If we find new Japanese suppliers later on, we will definitely add them to this list, so make sure to check back from time to time if you are interested!
However, if you are able to speak Japanese, then we greatly encourage you to do some research yourself and find an awesome Japanese dropshipping supplier using a few Google searches!
Without further ado, let’s start with the first Japanese dropshipping supplier:
The first supplier on the list is called SaleHoo.
And actually, SaleHoo isn’t really a dropshipping supplier, but a platform that offers you a database of suppliers all around the world!
In their supplier directory, you will be able to find the contact details of seven Japanese dropshipping suppliers:
SaleHoo checks each supplier before putting them in their supplier directory. So when working with a Japanese supplier found through SaleHoo, you will that the supplier can be trusted.
Keep in mind that SaleHoo acts as a directory of suppliers, so some suppliers might require you to place orders manually, while others may have integrations with ecommerce platforms such as Shopify.
So, what does it cost to get access to the contact details of these Japanese suppliers?
Well, you will need the “SaleHoo Directory” plan to get access to the supplier directory. It costs $67 per year or $127 for a lifetime plan.
However, the great thing about SaleHoo is that you are able to get a 7-day trial for just $1. This is definitely a great option for people to see if SaleHoo offers the suppliers they are looking for!
Next up is a supplier you may have heard of before. It is called Printful!
Printful is a dropshipping supplier in the print on demand niche and has warehouses located all over the world:
Since Printful recently partnered with one of the leading manufacturing companies in Japan, you will be able to use them as your Japanese dropshipping supplier!
Using Printful’s partner fulfillment center in Amakusa, Japan, you will be able to achieve delivery times of just one to three business days.
At the time of writing, Printful’s product catalog for the Japanese warehouse is a bit limited (mostly t-shirts and hoodies), but over time they will continuously expand the product catalog!
Luckily, this dropshipping supplier has two awesome benefits that make up for this.
First of all, Printful has great connections. You can connect it to more than 20 ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.
Also, Printful doesn’t work with monthly subscription plans. You will only have to pay for the products you buy!
CJdropshipping is an all-in-one solution that can help you source products from dropshipping suppliers all over the world.
It’s a free platform, so you will only have to pay for the product and shipping costs.
When searching in the product catalog of CJdropshipping, you will be able to filter on the product’s warehouse location.
Using this filter, you will be able to find products that are shipped from Japanese warehouses:
Currently, only five products are available here, but we are expecting this number to increase in the future!
If you can’t find the product you are looking for in CJdropshipping’s product catalog, they even offer you the possibility to send them a sourcing request. By doing this, CJdropshipping’s team will try to find a supplier for the product you are looking for.
To connect CJdropshipping to your store, you can use either their Shopify app or web app. If you want to use their web app, you will first have to create an account here.
Can you do dropshipping from Japan to other countries?
So far, we have focused on the business model of using a dropshipping supplier based in Japan to sell products to customers located in Japan.
However, is it also possible to use Japanese dropshipping suppliers and ship the products to other countries?
You may have several reasons to try this.
It could be that a Japanese supplier offers a particular product that is specific for the country and can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
If you want to sell that product to the rest of the world, you have no other choice than to work with that Japanese supplier. While the shipping cost and delivery time are likely to increase, you will be able to offer a truly unique product in other countries!
So, is it possible?
Well, why not! If you manage to find a good dropshipping supplier based in Japan that offers to ship their products to other countries, you can definitely do dropshipping from Japan to other countries!
It’s just like trying to find a good dropshipping supplier based in China to do dropshipping in Europe or the US, for example.
To do dropshipping from Japan to other countries, you will have to spot a good dropshipping supplier. For example, a supplier should have fair prices, excellent customer service, and, if possible, integration options for your store.
But that’s not all! You can check out all eight indicators of a good dropshipping supplier in this article.
An example of a Japanese supplier we have found that offers you to sell to other countries is called Goods From Japan:
It’s a supplier collecting all kinds of genuine products from Japan. Its product catalog ranges from practical products like Japanese kitchenware to Japanese hand-made accessories.
I would suggest taking a look at it if you are interested in doing dropshipping from Japan to other countries!
Dropshipping in Japan alternatives
Not sure yet about dropshipping in Japan?
No worries! Check out the lists below to find the right country for your business:
- Best Dropshipping Suppliers in India
- Best Dropshipping Suppliers in the UK
- Best Dropshipping Suppliers in the US
- Best Dropshipping Suppliers in Canada
- Best Dropshipping Suppliers in Europe
- Best Dropshipping Suppliers in Australia
- Best Dropshipping Suppliers in Malaysia
- Best Dropshipping Suppliers in New Zealand
Plus, don’t forget to check our guide on the best countries for dropshipping!
After looking at suppliers in Japan as well as the Japanese ecommerce market, I think we can finally give you a definite answer to the question you came for.
Can you do dropshipping in Japan?
In theory, everyone will be able to do dropshipping in Japan. However, being able to read and write Japanese will tremendously increase your chances of succeeding. This will help you to find Japanese suppliers, create your Japanese dropshipping store, and communicate with your Japanese customers.
If you are someone who speaks Japanese, then Japan looks like an awesome market to start dropshipping in.
With the main question answered, it is time to end the article.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed reading it and learned something new.
If you have any questions or suggestions for this article, then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below!
Have a great rest of your day!