Japan – Consumer Profile

December 19, 2019

In 2019 and 2020, the Japanese economy will continue growing slightly above its potential (which stands at around 0.6%) supported by: the ultra-monetary monetary policy of the Bank of Japan, investments in infrastructures (to prepare the Games Tokyo Olympics 2020), and the measures government to encourage investment business and market share labor.


Japan is a market of high purchasing power, mature and with a lot of international competition, where countries that have a reputation as suppliers of good quality (Spain, Italy, USA, and others) find it easier to sell their products.


According to The International Trade Administration “Japan’s population is declining as it ages rapidly. The population may decrease by as much as one third by 2060, from 127 million to 87 million. The proportion of the population older than 65 will rise from 27% today to 40% by 2060. The Japanese Government and business community seek to offset its effects on economic growth and government budget resources. The aging population shapes demand and opportunities in various segments:

  • Medical devices and equipment
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Healthcare facilities and infrastructure, including in-home care
  • Biotechnology
  • Healthcare information technology
  • Safety-related products and services
  • Robotics
  • Leisure and travel Educational services
  • Home delivery services
  • Financial services

The Guardian states that “Japan's business culture is very formalised and subject to many protocols. It's easy for an outsider unaware of the appropriate etiquette to cause offence accidentally. Greg McCray is the chief executive of Acal Energy, a hydrogen fuel cell company based in Cheshire, which is expanding into Japan. McCray also spent over a decade trading with Japan at a previous company and has learned much about doing business there. "Japanese businesses are very formal, you don't walk in and start telling jokes. You wear a suit and tie, follow protocol and respect the hierarchy of the business," he says.


As for the food industry, the Japanese consumer attaches great importance to food safety and is aware of the adverse effects on health that the excessive use of chemical products have, which is why the demand has increased for organic products.


The Japanese consumer has a high purchase value, is very demanding in terms of quality and relies heavily on Japanese companies that provide them with products or services, whether local or imported. As for agricultural production, the Japanese market does not meet domestic demand, so it requires importing fruits and vegetables in large proportions.