With the increase of working women in Japan more businesses have recognized the opportunities in targeting career women. According to an article by S. Kakuchi the Prime Minister’s Office says that the number of working women in the 35 to 45 age group has risen steadily from 4.76 million in 2004 to 5.45 million in 2009. Several local companies have recognized the opportunities and have adjusted their business strategies.
For example construction companies started to change the layout of new condominiums so they can attract more female buyers with larger living rooms and improved security. For me surprisingly, compared to male buyers, these career women seem to have more cash at hand when purchasing their home. SUUMO (housing information service by Recruit Company) observed that women are able to pay a higher down payment of about JPY 10 million compared to male counterparts with JPY 2 million.
Then on a smaller price scale Pola Cosmetics has noticed that women mostly in their 40s are willing to buy exquisite cosmetics up to JPY 100,000 apiece. Although Japanese women are famous for having a preference for shopping, still I expect rather drastic changes in the purchasing behavior due to a changed economic situation, but the actual findings were different. Hakuhodo Research Company (consumer research firm) found last February that 50 percent of the female respondents compared to 45 percent of the males said they continue to spend money. “The overall trend is, people are spending less compared to the heady days of the bubble economy era, but still there is a tendency for women to spend more than men,” says A. Natsuyama, a senior researcher Hakuhodo.
Having a closer look at the Japanese culture, it seems to me Japanese women have always been the spender in the family. Most likely as a full-time homemakers, women are in charge of the family budget controlling their husbands’ incomes. The sole difference today is that women are making their own money and using their incomes to focus on their own needs. Therefore companies focused on services related to relaxation after work or special treats for women are doing well even in a challenging economic situation. Another booming segment is education for children targeted for the married working women who are picking up the bill.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)