Palo Alto, CA – Last week, Dominic Carter, CEO of CarterJMRN, had the honour to speak at the Global Chamber Globinar on ‘Japan Market Entry Opportunities and Success,’ which covered trends and strategies pertinent for successful entry in the Japanese market. Details about the event can be found here. For those that want to get right into it, watch the recording of the event here.
During the 60-minute live seminar that was streamed globally, Dominic introduced attendees to the one big shift that will change Japan forever:
“The age of Reiwa, Japan’s new era, rung in with the enthronement of the new emperor, will see a traditional society becoming ‘modern’, driven by demographic pressures that have not been seen in any society before.”
Japan is meeting the era of Reiwa with unprecedented growth at the elder age brackets and atrophy in numbers among the young:
In short, scarcity of younger people is changing everything, while also creating huge opportunities. CarterJMRN has summarized these in four macro themes that we have observed evolving over the past years.
“The four macro themes shaping Reiwa Era Japan are: the changing world of work, women power, generational dynamics, and internationalization.”
The changing world of work
As society is dealing with dramatically less people of working age, young workers in Japan are now in an unprecedentedly strong bargain condition, finally breaking through the once infamous ethic of Japanese office workers towards a better work-life balance.
The pressure on the population finally sees Japanese businesses turning to women to fill the gap.
While Japan’s share of female managers is still the second lowest amoung all OECD countries, the Reiwa Era is likely to see an upturning in the balance of power, especially economic power, between men and women. Women will have their own money and will have more freedom in how to spend it. The long-term implications are yet to be seen, but the social, consumer, and retail trends are already apparent.
Japan is the most aged country in the world. An unprecedented problem, with no firm roadmap. Generations may or may not have common interests.
Our own research shows that the Japanese are well aware of the problem, and businesses from shopping centers to e-commerce are remodeling their concepts to cater to seniors.
Immigration is at record high, while the country is already experiencing a record tourism boom. Japan has the fastest growing tourism industry globally as of 2019, climbing from the 34th most visited country to 14th in just 12 years. The Rugby World Cup 2019 and the 2020 Olympic Games are key turning points for Japan.
For one, we are seeing a change in Japan’s labour force, which is becoming more international in response to demographic pressures. Integrated resorts, like we know them from Las Vegas or Macau, are coming to Japan. And retail and dining are embracing the experience economy concept.
A recipe for success for US businesses and market entry opportunities in Japan in the Age of Reiwa
We see four key areas where Japan’s megatrends synergistically manifest:
Convenience is something that has often been designed around the needs of the salaryman. Now it is growing in its scope to facilitate enhanced roles for women in their work and career. Seniors want bothersome chores taken away from them as they pursue a more meaningful life.
Shopping is so much more than buying goods. This can be all done online nowadays. What to do with all the extra time that one saves? Retail concepts that incorporate the opportunity to spend time in an enjoyable way are growing – increasing engagement with brands as well the value of goods sold.
Culture & Design
And the needs for experience go well beyond retail into leisure and entertainment. In today’s jaded world, culture and design intersect to establish interest and status and create content for brands that will truly connect.
Outdated assumptions about what is going to connect to ‘typical’ Japanese are being thrown out the window.
Wellness is a nascent trend in Japan prompted by concerns that arise from a faster paced and sometimes more disconnected life. Japan’s health-obsessed seniors also provide a long-term boost.
You can connect with Global Chamber and their Globinar series here.