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Market Research in Japan

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Country File: Japan

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The Economy

GDP: $34,362 trillion
GDP per capita: $42,280
GDP by sector: Industry (22.8%);
Services (75.7%)
GDP Growth: -0.9% (2011)

Japan is the third largest economy in the world, after the United States and China, and is the world's second largest developed economy. Japan has a renowned capability for the automotive sector and electronic goods. In recent years its industries have faced increasing competition within Asia, especially fromthe growing economies of China and South Korea. Japan still today boasts a high value, technology based economy and leads the field in hybrid cars, robotics and optical equipment.

Its main trading partners in Asia are China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia and Indonesia. Total exports in 2011 were $800 billion and had imports of $794 billion.
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Urban Population: 85 million (67%)





Total: 126.4




Male: 61.6




Female: 64.8




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Languages & Ethnic Groups

Official Language: Japanese

The teaching of English is not widespread in Japanese schools. Relatively few Japanese business people speak and understand English well enough to participate in business meetings in English, and is even less understood in the population as a whole.
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Business & Consumer Culture

In some respects the business culture has changed significantly in recent years. It is considerably more open to international business than was the case 20 years ago. The demand for imported goods has increased, and Japanese manufacturers have moved production offshore to other Asian markets. To a certain extent the labour market has become more flexible domestically with the ending of the job-for-life mentality, and the emergence of freelance and temporary work contracts. However, the Japanese negotiating style among business people has changed little. Japanese business is still largely relationship-based, characterised as formal, hierarchical and reserved.

In many respects Japanese consumers are becoming more similar to consumers in Europe and the US. Japanese consumers are increasingly willing to buy lower price and own label/discount brands and making more purchases via the internet, motivated by the desire to source products more cheaply. A combination of the digital economy and shifting attitudes among young people is underpinning a change in consumer behaviour.
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Market Research in Japan

Currency: Japanese Yen (JPY)
Smartphone ownership: 16%
Internet Users: 102 m (2010) (80%)
Homeownership: 61%

Online market research is widely conducted in Japan, with many established online panels. Asia Opinions currently can access 123,000 online panellists. Surveys need to be conducted in local language.