Exploring the Common Promotions and Events in Shopping Apps in Japan: An In-Depth Research


In the ever-evolving world of e-commerce and mobile shopping, it is crucial for shopping apps to stay competitive and attract users. One of the strategies employed by these apps is offering exciting promotions and events to engage and retain their user base. In this article, we delve into a comprehensive research study to uncover the common promotions and events that shopping apps in Japan offer to their users. By examining these trends, we gain insights into the strategies employed by app developers to enhance the shopping experience and drive user engagement.

Flash Sales and Limited-Time Offers

Flash sales are time-limited promotions that create a sense of urgency among users. These sales often last for a few hours or even minutes, offering substantial discounts on selected products. Limited-time offers, on the other hand, provide special discounts for a specific duration, encouraging users to take advantage of the deal before it expires.

As this aims to create a sense of urgency, the messages are usually made with clear and eye-catching promotion banners, engaging call-to-action and a countdown timer, nudging customers to hurry for the sale. 

Discount Codes and Coupons

Discount codes and coupon messages are to create an enticing offer that captures users’ attention, clearly communicates the benefits, and drives them to take advantage of the discount or coupon. 

Discount codes usually come in eye-catching visuals, with clear instructions on expiration dates, terms and conditions. Urgency can also be included in the coupons with phrases such as “Limited Time Offer” or “Expires Soon”.

Brands can also enhance customer interaction and visibility by handing out coupons when customers follow/interact/leave a review, which encourages both customer engagement and brand relationship. 

Seasonal Sales and Holiday Promotions

Seasonal sales are a popular promotion across shopping apps. These sales coincide with major holidays, such as Christmas, New Year, Thanksgiving, and seasonal events like summer sales or back-to-school promotions. During these periods, shopping apps offer discounts, bundle deals, and special offers to entice users to make purchases.

With fashion shopping apps, seasonal events are strongly utilized as brands dedicate this opportunity to promote their seasonal collection, and also clear out their inventory with end-of-season sale. This attracts a large number of users as they can purchase last season good pieces with a good price, and get guided through the most trendy, up-to-date style collection of this season. 

Exclusively in Japan, there is a tradition of buying a 福袋 (Fukubukuro, meaning a lucky bag) at the beginning of a new year. These mystery bags filled with various products at a discounted price are anticipated by customers who do not know what is in the bag. The Fukubukuro tradition reflects Japan’s love for surprises, value, and the joy of discovering something new, and also helps retailers to boost sales and clear out inventory. 

Shopping platforms in Japan have effectively adapted this tradition into their promotion. The Fukubukuro promotion encourages customer engagement, increases sales, and cultivates a sense of loyalty among app users who eagerly await this annual event.

Loyalty Programs and Rewards

Japanese shopping apps often implement loyalty programs and rewards to cultivate customer value and encourage them to repeat purchases. This includes offering points or rewards for every purchase, providing exclusive discounts or early access to sales for loyal customers, and personalized recommendations based on user preferences.

Events in Shopping Apps

Exclusive Product Launches

Exclusive product launches are a powerful marketing strategy employed by shopping apps to create excitement and drive customer engagement. By carefully selecting key products and generating buzz through teasers and captivating visuals, brands can build anticipation among their customer base. 

Offering pre-launch sign-ups and providing VIP access and rewards further enhance the exclusivity of the launch. Limited quantities of the product add a sense of urgency, prompting customers to make a purchase quickly. 

Brand Collaborations and Partnerships

Brand collaborations and partnerships are a dynamic way for shopping apps to expand their reach and offer unique experiences to their customers. Collaborative campaigns, such as co-branded collections or limited-edition products, generate excitement and entice customers with exclusive offerings.

These partnerships create a win-win situation, allowing both brands to cross-promote and benefit from each other’s audience. It not only enhances the app’s visibility but also fosters brand loyalty by offering customers something fresh and unexpected.


The above example of Rakuten x UberEats collaboration once again emphasizes the preferences towards incentives and point rewards, as they cherish the feeling of earning and redeeming points.

Influencer Campaigns and Social Media Events

Influencer campaigns and social media events have become powerful marketing tools for shopping apps. Influencers provide authentic and relatable content that resonates with their audience, creating a sense of trust and credibility. 

Social media events, such as live streams, giveaways, or challenges, generate buzz and encourage user participation. These campaigns not only increase brand visibility but also create a sense of community and excitement among users. 

Shopping Festivals and Mega Sales

Shopping festivals and mega sales are highly anticipated events that bring excitement and buzz to the world of online shopping. These large-scale events offer shoppers incredible deals, discounts, and promotions across a wide range of products and categories. From Black Friday and Cyber Monday to Singles’ Day and Prime Day, these shopping festivals provide an opportunity for brands and retailers to showcase their best offers and attract a massive audience. 

Recent years have witnessed the appearance of the double day sale. This is a type of online sale that is mainly seen in Asia shopping platforms, and generally takes place on the last four double-date days of the year: the 9th of September (9/9), the 10th of October (10/10), the 11th of November (11/11 or the Singles’ Day Sale), and the 12th of December (12/12 or the Doubles Day Sale). However, the numbers keep going as far as possible, on May 5th, June 6th, and so on.
The impact of Double Sales Day is expected to be more widespread than ever thanks to the fast growth of marketplaces such as Shopee, Lazada, or Tokopedia. In Southeast Asia, Double Dates in H2 2021 showed tremendous spikes in retail sales, particularly on 12/12, when sales increased a whopping +453% (Criteo). These dates are considered an opportunity for brands and businesses to reach out to their existing clientele and attract new customers with special promotions and discounts.


To conclude, studying the common promotions and events in shopping apps provides valuable insights into the dynamic strategies employed by app developers to enhance the shopping experience and drive user engagement. By understanding these trends, businesses can refine their marketing strategies to stay competitive in the ever-evolving e-commerce industry. Through enticing promotions, exclusive launches, brand collaborations, and influencer campaigns, shopping apps can create an interactive and captivating experience for users, fostering long-term loyalty. Staying attuned to consumer preferences will be crucial for the success of shopping apps in Japan and beyond.

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