that their spending levels have not been affected by the Tohoku Earthquake.
Research Panel Asia Inc. (RPA), a leading provider of Asian online research panels, recently conducted a survey on the consumer spending behavior in Japan after the Tohoku Earthquake on March 11, 2011.
According to the survey, 82 percent of the panelists expressed that their spending levels have not been affected by the disaster.
In addition, the great majority of them answered that it will remain the same level in the future.
A massive earthquake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region of Japan on March 11, 2011. It has caused a great damage in the northeastern area of Japan and the Japanese economy as a whole as well. Since then, there has been an increasing concern about how it has affected Japanese consumer behavior and their spending levels.
The survey was conducted on April 22, 2011 by using RPA's online Japanese panel (excluding the most affected cities by the disaster).
Summary of Findings
1) 82 percent of respondents answered that their current spending levels "haven't changed" compared to the pre-earthquake level.
Despite the increasing concern about the Japanese consumer spending, 82 percent of respondents expressed that their current spending levels have not changed compared to that before the earthquake.
When looking deeply into the spending levels by product/service category with weighted average (*1), it shows that spending on luxury good/service such as "Dining out," "Clothes," "Travel," and "Movie/Sports game" has decreased since the disaster.
On the other hand, the spending on "Instant foods" and "Bottled water" has increased. The demand on these items has temporarily increased due to the panic buying after the disaster.
(*1) An average that takes into account the proportional relevance of each component, rather than treating each component equally.
When looking into it by areas, regardless of whether it has been directly affected or not, the great majority of respondents answered that their spending levels "have not changed." However, the closer to the damaged area, the more respondents chose the bottom two, "Decreased" and "Somewhat decreased." This is the most obvious in Tohoku and Kanto area.
2) 80 percent of respondents answered that their spending levels will not change in the future.
Overall, 80 percent of respondents answered that their spending levels "won't change" in the future. However, the weighted average indicates that they will hold back on spending on items such as "Dining out," "Clothes," "Gamble/Lottery," and "Travel."
When looking into it by area, a majority of respondents answered that their spending level "won't change." Yet, 1.5 times to twice many people chose "Decrease" and "Somewhat decrease" compared to the previous question.
Despite the common concern, the research shows that there has been no major negative or positive impact on the consumer spending levels in Japan. On the other hand, people are concerned about the aftermath of the quake and Tsunami and the still unsolved problem of the Fukushima Nuclear plant accident.
It is still unclear how the Japanese consumer would be affected by this disaster in a long term, and we will be keeping our eyes on the market.
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Tokyo, Japan - 11 May 2011