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, Japan is not often mentioned despite its famous technological advances. InvestAsian discovers 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. Having sales estimated at over US$80 billion in 2015, Japanese e-commerce is worth a sizable amount compared to China’s US$650 billion. This is even though Japan’s population is less than a tenth of China’s.

There’s now widespread acceptance among Japanese to shop online. Statistics reveal 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 aptitude 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

Start Today is a Japanese company engaged in e-commerce and other related services. Its main business is operating the online apparel shop ZOZOTOWN – Japan’s largest fashion e-commerce site. The firm is globally 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. 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, it’s a profitable company which boasts net profit margins of above 20% – more than any of its competitors. High profitability has also led to better returns for 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 per share, Start Today is projected to grow and bring generous rewards to its investors.

About Reid Kirchenbauer

Reid Kirchenbauer is the Founder of InvestAsian. He's experienced with trading stocks and buying property in Thailand, Cambodia, and elsewhere. He's been featured in publications such as Forbes, Nomad Capitalist, Property Report, and Seeking Alpha. Download his free investment guide by clicking here.

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