So far, how to save money on every day purchases was mainly the topic for stay home moms and some money tight “salaryman”, as most Japanese would not want to be connected with a seemingly poor lifestyle. As long as money was flowing, most Japanese preferred not to bother much with bargain shopping for daily necessities. Unless related to luxury brands, there bargaining for second hand goods was common for years, the priority was on creating an image of being able to afford the top brands. Furthermore even if the money was tight, most Japanese would not have talked openly about their own preferred most efficient ways to safe money, but now the economic downturn has caused a shift in the Japanese society.
Not only TV shows feature now efficient ways of shopping as well online support can be found. Even the largest local English Newspaper “Japan Times” is featuring an article on the changed consumer behavior (by Hiroko Nakata http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100505f1.html). While before the financial downturn online shopping was considered solely as something dangerous and risky, therefore to stay away from, now with financial pressure online auctions or online shopping have become a preferred choice. The secondhand market is growing rapidly, particularly for those, who still want to enjoy their shopping despite the lingering economic downturn.
According to Hiroko Nakata’s article: “Specialists say, consumers’ minds are apparently changing in Japan, where people were widely believed to be far more obsessed with new products over used goods than in other developed countries.” Fully supporting this trend is Rakuten (online shopping site). Since last year they are offering used goods through about 4500 online shops, resulting in a quadrupled sales to JPY 1.8 Mio within a year.
Potentially a further reason is the “motainai” movement. Japanese have become more ecologically conscious and they are trying not to be so wasteful by throwing away so many things. As Japan Times says most likely the economic downturn has just accelerated the trend.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤).