Three Trends in the Recovering Japanese Consumer Economy

Category: Culture, Translation Services

If you’ve been looking for a foothold in the Land of the Rising Sun, now is a good time to explore your options for global expansion. Major players in retail, mobile, and social media are betting on Japan’s continued recovery.

Always savvy (and sometimes contrarian) billionaire investor Warren Buffet shared his optimism with reporters in November 2011, saying “The tsunami didn’t change Japanese people and Japanese businesses,” and, “I’m looking for things that I can put a billion [into] and Japan is one of our radar screens.”

The question is this: Where do you fit? Consider these three trends that suggest how Japan might get on your radar and into your business plan.

Partnerships in Design

Collaboration between designers across culturesand borders has currency with the Japanese. Recent projects have included luxury retailer Hermès and Japanese architect Shigeru Ban co-creating the environmentally friendly “Hermes + Shigeru Ban Pavilion”. Information and communication technology giant Fujitsu teamed with U.K.’s luxury luggage brand Globe-Trotter to release a limited edition mobile phone.

Openness in Social Media

Private and pseudonymous social networks are gradually giving way to a more western (read: Facebook) style. This has already forced companies like Japan’s highly popular social network “mixi” to introduce a greater degree of real information associated with its users accounts. If this trend continues, it will mean greater opportunities for targeted advertising.

New Mobile Services

Mobile advertising, shopping, and geotagged services are poised for growth.  Massachusetts-based mobile ad provider Jumptap recently signed a deal with Tokyo-based cyber communications (cci) to integrate its ad targeting technology with existing mobile ad platforms (read the press release here). More deals will undoubtedly follow.

What Next?

The upshot? Placing your business at the epicenter of Japanese culture could actually be the smartest move you make this year. For a more detailed review of these trends and more, be sure to read “Opportunity in Japan’s New Dawn” from our Q4 2011 newsletter.