Changed consumer behavior in the “new Japan”


After having moved back to Tokyo from Yokohama now for about 2 years I am doing all my shopping at the same supermarket. Until the earthquake hit, I had the same routines, but they have changed a bit these days. I am not covering the period, when there had been some shortage due to the break down of the local logistic, I am simply expressing my most recent observations after Tokyo got back to the “new normal”.
Entering the supermarket shows now not a big difference, lights are still somewhat dimmed at the Aeon I shop (not as dark as just after the disaster hit), but brightness is almost back to pre-earthquake level. On the other hand, I have seen a shift of the products that sell out easily and others that are piled up even until evening. It seems to me now vegetables or milk products from certain prefectures and fish tends to be less attractive for the consumers. Further checking labels about the source of the ingredients and manufacturing site has become more important, leaving now less strict labelled products accumulate in the shelves, while clearly labeled products tend to be sold out quickly. For sure I am curious to see when private labels and larger local or international brands will adjust to the increased need for information on the packaging.
Not only at supermarkets the changes in the Japanese consumer behavior can be seen, but as well with the flyer shown above. Honestly I cannot remember having seen home delivery sushi promoting such a high discount before the earthquake. For sure the changed Japanese consumer demands forces local companies to adjust as soon as possible. I wish I could be optimistic, but I expect several businesses to go bankrupt, simply due to the geographical location of their business.

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)

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