Japanese consumer culture
Japanese consumers love to have the latest and greatest products. You won’t see any old cars on the road in Japan, because the culture is one where people replace rather than fix, and once replaced there is no longer a market for the used vehicle. This culture makes Japan the ideal market for launching new and exciting products or technologies.
The language barrier
Japanese products are known for their very high quality. From cars to electronics, Japanese people are surrounded by some of the highest quality products in the world, and this has created a culture with very high expectations for its products.
However, because most Japanese people only speak Japanese, it is very difficult for foreign products to reach the Japanese consumer. Without a native “spokesperson” vouching for the quality of products, it can be virtually impossible to penetrate this attractive market.
The graph below is the ratio of Japanese websites on the internet. According to this, the high-spending Japanese consumer only has access to 3.4% of the internet content (and products) in the world.
* quoted from internetworldstats.com
Unfamiliar business practices
Many foreign companies have tried entering the Japan market, but typically they fail. Business & cultural expectations during and after such things as product exhibitions or other similar transactions are extremely intricate yet subtle. This makes it virtually impossible for foreign companies or individuals to be successful here.