Business / Tech

Smartphones now the preferred choice for internet access in Japan, surpassing PCs for first time

Kyodo

Japan passed a milestone as more people accessed the internet from smartphones than personal computers last year, a government survey showed Friday.

According to a survey by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry that allowed multiple responses, 54.2 percent of the respondents went online via smartphone, 48.7 percent via PCs and 18.7 percent via tablet computers.

By age group, 87.8 percent of those in their 20s preferred internet access via smartphone, versus 37.2 percent of those in their 60s.

Among people 60 or older, more used PCs than smartphones to access the internet.

The diffusion rate for smartphones came to 75.1 percent of households last year, outnumbering the 72.5 percent rate for PCs for the first time as well.

The survey, however, also showed that 68.3 percent had anxieties about using the internet, including the risk that their private information and browsing history might be leaked or that they might get hit by a computer virus.

Among corporate users, 56.9 percent used a cloud service to store or share data. It was also the first time a majority of companies in Japan said they had used such a service.

The annual survey was conducted by mail from November to December on about 40,000 households and some 7,000 companies nationwide. The response rate was about 40 percent for both.