The Word Works

Consuming Japan


Target Insight '09-'10 Pre and Post-Bubble image
Published By: John on 01/02/10

It was Marketing Eye‘s Asami Sunahara who pointed me to Target Insight ‘09-‘01, a Senden Kaigi publication for which she was one of the co-editors. The first major section deals with generational differences in Japanese consumers,  looking at these differences in terms of pre and post-bubble coming of age, the magazines they read, and the products they made bestsellers. Here I translate a summary of results for coming of age before or after the Japanese bubble economy’s collapse in 1991.

The dividing line is age 36.

Pre-bubble is 37 or older

  * Experienced a growing economy
  * Learned to consume when things were getting better and better

Post-bubble is 36 or younger

  * Came of age when Japanese society was already stagnant
  * Learned to consume when things were stuck or getting worse

Basic Stance

  * Upwardly mobile, want to be different
  * Believe that hard work is rewarded
  * Look to the future, long-term perspective


  * Want the same as others with whom they get along
  * Do not believe that hard work is rewarded
  * Focused on the present, mid to short-term perspective

Use of Time

  * Don’t like to do nothing
  * Want a full schedule


  * Want time to do nothing
  * Like schedules with lots of empty spaces

Consumption Attitudes

  * Want the latest, something better
  * Want it all
  * Using consumption to mark higher status at key moments of life


  * Want limited-time, seasonal, and just right for me
  * Spend more on some things, less on others
  * Treasure momentary encounters, want to be inspired


  * One-taste coordination
  * Like what’s new
  * Like brands


  * Re-mix items from different styles
  * Like used and remake apparel
  * Like “select” (idiosyncratic) items


  * Want to be connected with society
  * Enjoy communication with a wide variety of people


  * Want to be connected with a small group of friends
  * Prefer comfortable, narrow worlds

Information Gathering

  * Gather information from a wide variety of sources including mass media
  * Find role models in magazines
  * Give greater weight to face-to-face communication


  * Search the net to quickly find what they need
  * Find role models in stores and people they know
  * Give greater weight to word-of-mouth on the Net


Next entry: Target Insight '09-'10 Fashion Types

Previous entry: Rocky Road Ahead for Japan's Ad Industry - Nikkei Advertising White Paper 09


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