Japan’s largest online retailer delivers big SA food and wine boost

20 Mar 2023
South Australian food, wine and beverage companies continue to reap the rewards from Japan’s largest e-commerce site, connecting with millions of new customers as sales keep surging.
Rakuten – a platform described as the “Amazon of Japan” – boasts more than 100 million Japanese users and is home to 27 per cent of Japanese e-commerce, a figure that equated to $40 billion in 2020.
Globally Rakuten has more than 1.4 billion members as well as partnerships with major international organisations such as the Davis Cup and NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
The standalone brand 'Tasting South Australia’, established on the Rakuten platform, was an Australian first and resulted in more than an extra 400 of the State’s products being listed online.
This additional boost increased the number of South Australia items listed on the Rakuten platform to almost 2,500 – centralising SA products on a dedicated page – with the partnerships supporting local businesses to enter the Japan market.
In Japanese, Rakuten stands for “optimism” and that optimism has paid dividends for the South Australian businesses signed up, fuelling approximately $150,000 in sales since the ‘Tasting South Australia’ page went live in June 2022 and receiving four million impressions along with another 120,000 unique visits.
Premium South Australian products listed include beer, gin, wine, honey, almonds, seafood, sweets, spreads, pet food, along with fashion and beauty products.
Rakuten has allowed local companies to secure a foothold into the lucrative Japanese domestic market and the opportunity to engage directly with consumers in Japan while gaining global exposure.   
Those benefiting from the site include Buzz Honey, NovaFarms, Hither & Yon, Prohibition Liquor Co, Southern Kuya and Pet Snacks.
Buzz Honey’s success is particularly sweet – its honey is worth nearly double in the Japanese market than in South Australia, demonstrating the premium price that South Australia’s world-class, high-quality products can attract overseas and driving growth at home.
The company was one of 23 South Australian brands – all of which are listed on Rakuten – that participated at FOODEX in Tokyo earlier this month, as part of the Department for Trade and Investment’s first-ever Tasting South Australia exhibition at the event.
SA food and beverages represent nearly half of the $646.8 million in exports to Japan in the year to January 2023 – and extra support through initiatives like Rakuten aim to drive this figure even higher.
Visit the Rakuten Tasting South Australia page here.