Questionnaire Survey of 10,000 Consumers
While more importance is being given to information, the trend toward
“carefully considered consumption” is growing
December 28, 2009
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (NRI: Tokyo; Akihisa Fujinuma, Chairman and President, CEO & COO) conducted a door-to-door survey of 10,000 consumers aged 15 to 69 across the country in July – August 2009. NRI has conducted this survey every three years since 1997, with this last survey being the fifth in the series. The results of the survey including time series analyses are presented below.
While we face a downturn in the economy, consumers are not necessarily leaning toward buying inexpensive goods, but rather are placing more importance on added values such as quality, environmental friendliness and safety. In considering such factors, consumers seek the views and opinions of family members and friends, and use information exchanged among consumers through word of mouth sites and SNS (social networking services) that have grown in popularity with the increased use of the Internet. Using such information, consumers select and purchase products that truly offer them value, leading to a greater trend toward “carefully considered consumption.”
Placing more emphasis on added values such as “quality,” “environmental
friendliness” and “safety” rather than low price alone
Although 29.2 percent of respondents felt that economic conditions will “become worse,” this is about the same level as that (28.2%) when the survey was conducted during a downturn in 2003 (Figure 1). With respect to their feelings about the future, the percentage of respondents who selected “my lifestyle will be based on income that is lower than my current income” has been rising, and since 2003 has exceeded the percentage of respondents who selected “my lifestyle will be based on income that is higher than my current income.” In this survey, the percentage of respondents who estimated “lower income” was 26.5 percent, which is the highest ever of all five of the surveys conducted in the past (Figure 2).
As such, consumers have a gloomy prospect about future economic conditions and their income on which they base their future lifestyles. Nevertheless, when we see changes in the sense of value attached to consumption, we find no increase in the percentage of respondents who selected “in any case, I buy inexpensive products.” Rather, we see a greater trend toward placing an emphasis on quality as indicated by the selection of “I buy products with a long life expectancy” by many respondents (61.3%), giving importance to their own lifestyles and focusing on environmental concerns and safety (Figure 3). These results suggest current consumer thinking toward consumption in responses such as “although I want to keep my expenses as low as I can, I want to avoid “cheap and bad” goods when I make a purchase and look for a balance between price and quality.”
The trend of “carefully considered consumption” to select products that truly offer
value to consumers based on information obtained through CGM, etc. is growing
In addition to an increasing trend among consumers to buy “products of well-known makers (brands) rather than unknown ones” (42.3%; up 3.9 points compared to 2006), the expanded use of the Internet has led to an increase in the percentage of respondents who selected “I buy products after gathering relevant information before purchase” (35.8%; up 6.9 points compared to 2006) and who selected “I am interested in the reputation of products among their users” (26.9%; up 6.0 points compared to 2006) (Figure 4). As such, there is a growing tendency toward making decisions to buy products after examining if the products meet reasonable standards such as by giving more importance to brands and/or information.
Furthermore, the younger the respondents (both men and women), the more importance they give to the views and opinions of family members and friends and information that is exchanged among consumers by means of CGM (consumer generated media) such as word of mouth sites and SNS on the Internet.
As these findings suggest, the trend of “carefully considered consumption” is growing among consumers who place importance on the variety of information they have gathered when they select products to purchase that are exactly what they want and that truly offer them value.
The trend toward “careful consideration” is also increasing in the selection of
Among the channels (stores, etc.) used for everyday purchases of groceries, daily necessities and the like, consumers are now making greater use of convenience stores (from 6.0 times/month in 1997 to 8.2 times/month in 2009). While the use of drugstores has risen only slightly, other channels have remained constant or are in a declining trend (Figure 5). The channels for shopping goods such as durable goods and hobby products whose usage ratio has significantly increased are volume home electronics retailers and shopping malls consisting of a variety of specialty stores. Conversely, department stores that cover all fields of food, clothing and housing are experiencing difficulties in retaining customers (Figure 6). On the other hand, online shopping is steadily growing in popularity, with more than 40 percent of people in their 20s and 30s buying goods via the Internet. As such, online shopping has now been established as a major purchasing channel.
These findings also point to an increasing trend toward “careful consideration” in selecting purchase channels that are best suited and most convenient. For example, the increase in the popularity of online shopping is considered to be due to the changing lifestyles of consumers such as wanting to spend more time at home, thus making the Internet a more suitable purchasing channel. When we look at the services that consumers have used over the past year, we see that there has been an increase in the use of home delivery services such as those delivering groceries and parcels. In addition, when we look at leisure activities, we see that people are taking fewer trips and instead spending more time at home with their PCs and video games. With such an increasing trend toward home-based consumption, online shopping whose appeal is obvious, i.e., enabling purchases at home, will continue to expand and increase in popularity. On the other hand, conventional store-based channels will find it necessary to offer additional and unique values.
Detailed survey results can be downloaded from NRI’s website:
http://www.nri.co.jp/news/2009/091228/091228.pdf(available only in Japanese)
[For inquiries, please contact:]
Ryoko Baba/ Suirei Ban
Corporate Communication Department
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Outline of Survey
Note: With the exception of Figure 1, the sample size for each survey year for Figures 2 – 6 is N = 10,052 for 1997, N = 10,021 for 2000, N = 10,060 for 2003, N = 10,071 for 2006, and N = 10,252 for 2009.
Figure 1: How do you think economic conditions will change between this year and next?
Note: Excluding non-respondents, the sample size is N = 10,036 for 1997, N = 9,993 for 2000, N = 10,024 for 2003, N = 10,004 for 2006, and N = 10,213 for 2009.
Figure 2: How do you see your income and lifestyle changing in the future?
Figure 3: What factors are important to you in making a purchase? (Multiple answers)
Figure 4: How do you feel about brands? How important is the information provided on a product? (Multiple answers)
Figure 5: Average frequency of use of the following channels to buy everyday products
Figure 6: Percentage of use of the following channels to buy shopping goods in the past year?
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