With the recent purchase of Southeast Asian e-commerce giant Lazada by Alibaba, e-commerce is the industry to talk about here in Asia. However, one country that is not often mentioned despite its famous technological advances is Japan. InvestAsian discovers, after some research and analysis, that the Japanese e-commerce market is small yet full of potential.

Since the Japan’s e-commerce industry is obscure outside of its borders, a quick overview is needed. Estimated to have sales of over US$80 billion in 2015, Japanese e-commerce is worth a sizable amount per capita when to China’s US$650 billion even though Japan’s population is less than a tenth of China’s.

This is partly explained by widespread acceptance among Japanese to shop online. Statistics have revealed that about 80% of all Japanese consumers do their shopping online. Seven out of ten Japanese shoppers are registered members of Rakuten’s site, the market leader in online shopping.

Due to the Japan’s general proficiency in everything technological, the country was one of the earliest to develop its e-commerce industry. It was the first country to let consumers pay for the products they bought online at convenience stores.  One of the earlier companies to start selling products online is aptly named Start Today (TYO:3092).


Start (To Invest in Japan) Today

A Japanese company engaged in e-commerce and other related services. Start Today’s main business includes the daily operations of its famous online apparel shop which goes by the name ZOZOTOWN – the country’s largest fashion e-commerce site. Start Today is internationally recognized as having ranked #12 on Forbes’ list of Most Innovative Growth Companies.

Start Today does more than sell its own branded products on its store. It solicits online “tenants” who are offered a place to sell their products as well on ZOZOTOWN. These shops are then called ZOZOTOWN’s “original selection shops” and are featured prominently on the website.

InvestAsian believes that it’s a good time to invest in Japan with shares of Start Today for more than a few reasons.

First of all, it is a very profitable company which boasts net profit margins of above 20% – more than any of its competitors. This high profitability has also led to handsome returns to its investors with its ROE and ROI of 40% and 38% respectively.

Not only that, its financials are extremely healthy and the company is positioned for growth in the future. With no debt at all in the company’s current financials, Start Today is able to take on a great amount of debt should it see any opportunities for expansion.

Selling at 4,690 JPY, Start Today is projected to grow and bring generous rewards to its investors.

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