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December 3, 2011
  • Rakuten, Inc

Rakuten Ichiba’s Annual Gross Merchandise Sales Break through
the 1 Trillion Yen Mark

—GMS Doubles from 500 Billion Yen in Only 4 Years on the Back of Accelerating Growth—

TOKYO, December 3, 2011 – Rakuten, Inc.(“Rakuten,” Chairman and CEO: Hiroshi Mikitani, Head Office: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo) today announced that its online shopping mall Rakuten Ichiba surpassed 1 trillion yen in gross merchandise sales (including Rakuten Books)* for calendar year 2011 as of December 3. This marks the first time that Rakuten Ichiba exceeded the 1 trillion yen mark in annual gross merchandise sales in the 14 years and 7 months since its launch on May 1, 1997.

Since its founding, Rakuten has provided both an IT system for companies and sole proprietors alike to efficiently operate online mail order businesses as well as a marketplace that helps match sellers and buyers. Today, the number of merchant stores has grown to exceed 38,000 with more than 87.5 million registered products, making Rakuten Ichiba Japan’s largest online shopping mall.

In addition, the number of Rakuten Ichiba users has steadily grown as Rakuten has enhanced its service line-up for members, including the launch of a loyalty reward point program called Rakuten Super Points as well as a payment guarantee program called the Rakuten Anshin Payment Service. Today, the number of Rakuten members exceeds 73 million.

Rakuten Ichiba’s gross merchandise sales in the first month after its launch were only 320,000 yen. Some 10 years and 7 months later in December 2007, however, Rakuten Ichiba’s gross merchandise sales first broke through the 500 billion yen mark, and with growth accelerating this figure doubled in a span of only four years to 1 trillion yen in 2011.

2011 saw several unique trends in terms of sales taking place on Rakuten Ichiba. First, in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, more consumers purchased fresh produce, such as rice, vegetables, dairy products and eggs, as well as everyday essentials, such as water and children’s products, while fans, LED lighting and gas heating devices became popular items to help the nation cut back on energy demand. In addition, the rise of the smartphone caused explosive growth in mobile phone accessories sales on Rakuten Ichiba.

Going forward, Rakuten will continue to advance initiatives aimed at further enhancing customer satisfaction under the concept “Shopping is Entertainment!” Rakuten will also make further efforts in order to provide a stable environment where online shopping can be enjoyed in a safe and secure manner.

*The combined total of merchant store sales on Rakuten Ichiba, or the value of all merchandise sold on Rakuten Ichiba.

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