Making bookings on smartphones

This straightforward survey from MMD Labo looked at internet reservations by smartphone.

Looking at the options, I’m surprised that “travel” or “flights” do not appear on the list. Given that “other” is less than 2%, they must have been explicitly excluded, but for what reason is not explained.

How has the Japanese mobile carrier market changed?

This short survey report from MMD Labo looked at the Spring 2021 mobile service provider situation.

The full survey is much more detailed, so if you want a deep dive, please visit their site and purchase the full survey results.

Note that ahamo is docomo’s cheap plan, povo au’s, and LINEMO SoftBank’s, each costing just under 3,000 yen all-in for 20gb data and 5 minutes free per phone call.

In Q2 I’m not surprised that Rakuten is the most-investigated, as they have been flooding the airwaves with exceptionally irritating adverts offering completely free service for the first gigabyte of data port month.


Smartphone photography and printing

MMD Labo recently conducted a survey into smartphone photography and smartphone photo printing.

I fall into the two or three photos per month, usually food photos that never gets further than Google Map reviews, although I do occasionally upload to my personal Instagram account quality photos like this:

I’ve printed out my own smartphone photos exactly once; it was for my father-in-law’s funeral, and rather than pay 30,000 yen or so for a professional memorial photo for him, we found one on my smartphone and I printed it off at a nearby convenience store for the grand total of 50 yen, and framed it in a photo frame we found lying about his flat…

Android just ahead of iPhone in Japan

This survey from MMD Labo into mobile service provider usage shows three-quarters of Japanese using one of the three full-service, full-price carriers, but with all three launching new low-cost self-service plans, it will be interesting to see how these figures change.

I’m a long-term Docomo/Android/Sharp Aquos user myself, and I am considering switching to Docomo’s new plan ahamo, which gives you 20Gb and 5 minutes free per call for about 3,000 yen including tax.

What the Japanese are learning online

This survey from MMD Labo looked at online lessons. With the pandemic and people spending more time at home, it would have been interesting to see how many people had chosen to start lessons for these reasons, but the results of that question were not offered in this summary of the survey.

I’ve not started any private lessons, although for work I’ve done a good number of free lectures I’ve found through YouTube, mostly on the subjects of GPUs and autonomous vehicles.

I’m surprised to see yoga, fitness and sports as the second-most popular genre; I can understand watching YouTube videos, but two-way lessons seem difficult without physical feedback.

Electronic commerce, home delivery and unattended delivery

Although the norm in Japan is for goods to be handed over at the doorstep, perhaps this survey from MMD Labo into electronic commerce and home delivery might point to a new norm of unattended delivery.

I’ve never tried unattended delivery, and don’t particularly want to either. I do live in a block of flats that has shared lockers for when people aren’t in, so there’s little worry about missed delivery, and anyway we set delivery times when we can usually assure we are at home.

Have you tried unattended delivery in Japan? How did it go?

QR Code-based payment methods in Japan

Contactless payments, be they IC chip or barcode-based are perhaps becoming more popular due to COVID-19 making physical cash a potential transmission vector, so this survey from MMD Labo into smartphone QR Code-based payments may reveal some trends in Japan.

I mostly use smartphone-based public transport IC chip-based payments, JR East’s (the major train operator in the Tokyo area) SUICA. Once in a blue moon I use QR Code-based methods, the mobile phone operator Docomo’s dBarai system, and I once got 500 yen free credit from FamiPay.


Online live music consumption in Japan

This survey from MMD Labo looked at the safest way to enjoy live music these days, viewing online live music.

I’ve not watched any online live music free or paid, although over the New Year my favourite Japanese band, Southern All Stars, did an online live concert (they normally see in the New Year with an in-person concert) with tickets at 4,500 yen each, and I was sorely tempted…

Here’s a random song of theirs off YouTube; I’d not actually seen or heard this one before:


COVID-19 and the usage of large electronic commerce sites

This survey from MMD Labo looked at people’s usage of large electronic commerce sites during the pandemic.

Our family’s use of shopping sites hasn’t really changed. I still prefer the old-fashioned way of actually going to a shop, and I’m quite happy to place my trust in facemasks and antibacterial lotions. Also, working at home I think it’s good for one’s general well-being to get out of the house and get some fresh air regularly, and fortunately Japan isn’t populated with too many idiots that refuse to wear masks.

Online financial transactions in Japan

This survey from MMD Labo looked at many aspects of online financial transactions in Japan. Note that the topic is banking and investment-related transactions, not ordinary online shopping.

I don’t do any financial transactions online because, as is tradition in Japan, I leave all the money stuff to my wife.

In Q4, I am very surprised by the result that over half use QR or bar code-based payment methods, yet less than a third use IC Card contactless, given that almost every phone sold in Japan is contactless-ready (mind you, they are also QR Code-ready) and my experience with trains is that the vast majority are using some form of contactless payment, although I suppose since I travel mostly on commuter lines in the big city I have certain observer bias.