What you should know about Japan Marketing
The Japanese consumer market continues to attract foreign companies with its tremendous commercial potential. Yet, it has been characterized as an enigma to many observers with a limited understanding of the social, cultural, and commercial landscape here — some even suggesting it to be the hardest market in the world for outsiders to break into.
1. Understand the pride of “Made in Japan”
Japanese really like “Made in Japan”. This is due to their quality pride and also due to the history.
Early in its history, Japan was heavily influenced by its Asian mainland neighbors, namely China and Korea. Later, it was heavily exposed to modern Western cultural ideals, especially in the late 19th and 20th century. And most recently, there has been a strong adoption of American culture, following the Second World War.
All these influences have no doubt played a part in shaping the products, technologies, behavior, and ideals that have emerged here over the decades, yet Japan has always retained a strong sense of its own identity.
So, it is easy to assume Japanese society has been heavily “Westernised”, with its appreciation of imported brands from America and Europe, the truth is that Japanese consumers are much more selective when it comes to the foreign brands they accept.
More often than not, customers will opt for domestically manufactured products from recognized brand names, than ones from abroad (with a few exceptions). Many families also have favourite brands (like Hitachi, Sony, or Panasonic) they trust and like to buy more than one product from, such as TVs, fridges, AC units and more.
REASONS WHY JAPANESE SHOPPERS BUY IMPORTED GOODS
- Items are not available from domestic brands
- Products are imported from a country famous for it (French wine, German cars etc.)
- Items are less expensive from foreign manufacturers (made in China)
- To enjoy the ‘exotic’ factor and appreciate the lifestyle aspect of international brands and products
- To show social status and class with items and brands that are fashionable in other countries
“If we make it, we can do better”
There’s no denying that the Japanese have been eclectic in their selection and adaptation of foreign elements into their own culture. But rather than simply adopting foreign concepts and models in their totality, brands prefer to adapt, creating a more “Japanese version” of a foreign concept.
Whether it’s in the culinary world, fashion, or technology, the Japanese have shown a remarkable ability to do things their own way.