Rakuten Insight launches new consumer pulse report

What are consumers in Asia and the US ‘Watching, Chatting, Reading & Shopping’?

Tokyo, March 30 2023 – Local insight is key in understanding the consumer through their cultural lens. Rakuten Insight Global has surveyed 6,500 respondents from their proprietary panels to understand consumer attitudes & behaviours in four categories: Watch, Chat, Read, Shop. Themes which have emerged in this study include differing attitudes & behaviours towards:

Online Shopping

During COVID-19, many people shifted to online shopping as a way of staying safe while still getting their goods. In 2023, Rakuten Insight Global wanted to discover if these habits had continued. The report found that there had been an increase in ‘almost everyday’ shopping compared to 2020 (+10%). This shows that people are increasingly turning to e-commerce as their preferred way of shopping, which looks set to stay beyond the pandemic.

Store visits have fallen in China (58%) & Taiwan (45%), while food & household items remain the most commonly purchased items online (57%).

Price appears to be the driving force for many shoppers (69%), with good causes being a less relevant factor (10%) when customers are forced to choose.


Smartphones are now essential for almost everything we do, from work to leisure activities. China (73%) and Indonesia (76%) are making use of their smartphone to watch content. The percentage is much lower in the US (27%) & Japan (36%).

Reading also reveals an interesting trend in Asia, especially in Indonesia and Vietnam, where 83% and 80% read primarily on their smartphone. Focusing on transitioning from hard books to e-readers risks being outside the cultural framework of Asian consumers.

Finally, local insight is essential when looking at online purchases made via smartphone: Vietnam (57%) and China (56%) make purchases on their phones almost every day or at least once a week, compared to only 20% of Japanese consumers who purchase through their device daily or weekly.

Digital Content

Leisure time activities differ depending on local culture. For instance, Japan tends to watch fewer movies (7%) than other countries, potentially favouring shorter content formats or other options like gaming over movies.

Tencent holds a strong position in China with 40%, while YouTube is the top choice in all other markets. In Japan and US, the net increase is lower, possibly due to competition from Amazon & Netflix.

In terms of cinema attendance, China (45%) and India (40%) lead the way – a contrast to the majority of Japanese consumers (75%) who rarely or never visit the cinema, suggesting that films are not as appealing compared to other forms of entertainment.

Family & Friends

Support networks have remained consistent even after the pandemic. For example, 70% and 64% of Japanese and Koreans spoke to their Close Family regularly. Meanwhile, in India, 37% spent almost as much time chatting with Friends as with their Close family (40%). In Taiwan and Hong Kong, 16% spend most of their time talking to Extended family members. This indicates the greater relevance of the local culture compared to the impact of the pandemic.

Overall, the 2023 Consumer Pulse Report provides valuable insights into consumer behaviour across Asia and the US, which businesses can use to expand into these markets or better target existing customers.

Explore these key insights in more details by downloading the full report here.

About Rakuten Insight Global

Rakuten Insight Global, Inc. (“Rakuten Insight”) is a wholly-owned online market research subsidiary company of Rakuten Group, Inc., a global leader in internet services headquartered in Tokyo. Rakuten Insight was established in 1997 as AIP Corporation and became part the Rakuten Group in 2014. Rakuten Insight possesses a research panel focusing on 12 countries and regions in Asia & the US and a panel network covering 60 countries and regions. With offices in 11 countries and regions, Rakuten Insight provides market research for over 500 leading companies around the world. For more information visit https://insight.rakuten.com/

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