Japanese chat app Line is making a fortune from stamps — But who’s buying?



Line chat app users can now enjoy unique stamps from world famous modern artist Takashi Murakami. The stamps were created to commemorate the release of the movie Mememe-no-kurage, a film which saw Murakami assume the role of director for the very first time.

As I’ve written in a past article, stamps are often cited to as the reason behind chat apps’ huge success to date, especially in Asia. Silicon Valley’s Path released original stickers within its app at beginning of March, a move that makes sense given that the company is eager to expand to the Japanese market (having also hired a business development person here).

Line provides both free stamps and premium stamps which cost about 170 yen (about $1.80) for a set of 40. The platform sells over 300 million yen (about $3,126,000) worth of stamps per month. That works out to about about 60,000 downloads of premium stamps a day.

So who is actually buying these stamps? According to a survey conducted by Ceres, its people in their 30s who are the most frequent buyers with one in four people purchasing stamps. This is followed by users in their 20s at 21.8%. Only 10% of teenagers and people over the age of 50 are paying for stamps.

The survey also revealed that official character stamps by corporate brands are very popular with 61% of respondents saying they have downloaded such stamps. On April 2nd, Line kicked off its new campaign where stamps could be redeemed for free after buying certain products. The very first product on board is a Japanese blend tea by Coca Cola Japan. The company worked in collaboration with a major publisher with its hit comic series as GTO and Moteki.

For more information on the growth of Line, please check out our interactive Line Timeline which chronicles its growth from its launch back in 2011 up until the present day.