TOKYO: Smartphone usage is growing among older Japanese consumers, who are adopting an increasingly digital lifestyle, according to new research.

IPG Mediabrands' Media in Mind study, reported in Campaign Japan, surveyed 2,400 internet users in the Kanto and Kansai areas of the main island of Honshu and found that 28% of respondents aged between 70 and 74 owned a smartphone, up from 17% in 2015.

And this ownership is helping them become digitally active, even if the smartphone itself is not responsible for all their online activity.

For example, more than half (55%) of men in this age group and more than one third (38%) of women listed online shopping as an area they are now more active in, followed by internet banking (41% and 19% respectively).

More generally online shopping emerged as a prevalent digital activity for all age groups surveyed; 41% reported becoming more engaged in this pursuit.

Japan is also one market where Yahoo holds greater sway than Google: 46% of those surveyed said Yahoo was a site or app they would have difficulty living without, compared to 34% for Google. Monthly active users of Yahoo were up 16% year-on-year to more than 37m.

That said, Google was more among younger Japanese consumers – those aged 15 to 24.

Other applications regarded as indispensable included Line and YouTube. Line was preferred by 15-19 year-olds, while 20-35 year-olds opted for YouTube.

The study further noted that location-based apps, such as those relating to maps and traffic, become important for people aged over 50.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia; additional content by Warc staff