Mobile LBS market in Japan is poised for a substantial growth. A report from market research and consulting firm Seed Planning estimates a 340 percent increase between 2010 and 2015.
The LBS market accounted for 43 billion yen (USD 560 million) in 2010 and is expected to expand to 147 billion yen (USD 1.9 billion) by 2015. Increase in LBS demand is roughly in line with anticipated smartphone adoption over the next few years. However, a closer look shows that the market isn’t growing simply due to an increase in smartphone users.
GPS functionality was introduced to Japanese feature phones in 2007. Location based services such as navigation predate the smartphone and the several year head start allowed the LBS market in Japan to grow to tens of billions of yen. Future LBS market growth will instead be attributed to the popularity of smartphone specific services and LBS innovation. A major growth category will be location information and location games.