A looming consumption tax hike has dented sentiment over Japan's economy, but the bite on consumers may prove a boon for online retailers, the CEO of Japanese ecommerce titan Rakuten said.
"People will become more price sensitive and online has a price advantage," Hiroshi Mikitani, chairman and CEO of Rakuten, told CNBC.
"The percentage of the online shopping will grow and accordingly, I'm hoping that it will increase our absolute transaction volume," Mikitani said. "This may be a turning point for online shopping industry in Japan."
(Read more: Japan's sales tax hike: What you need to know)
Online shopping hasn't captured as much of the market in Japan as in other developed countries. Japan's online sales were around 3.9 percent of the country's total retail sales in 2012, dwarfed by around 9.7 percent in the U.K. and 6.53 percent in the U.S., according to data from a Cushman & Wakefield report.
Mikitani expects the tax hike will have a less negative impact on online shopping compared with physical retail as even if online prices rise, they will likely remain lower than in bricks-and-mortar stores.