How to Do Market Research Like a Japanese

How to Do Market Research Like a Japanese

Where do Japanese executives go for the latest on industry-specific statistics, consumer reports, emerging market segments, and market analytics? Curious? 

Want to learn how to do market research like a Japanese? 

In the English-speaking world, a simple Google search will deliver to you the data you need. But in Japan, where you’ll need to know the specific Japanese term to get any results, you might do better by building your own directory of relevant sites that you check regularly

To help you with that, here are the sites that Japanese research specialists and executives use when conducting market research for their industries. 

Bookmark this page for quick access to the information you need to make your next move.

Survey-based research

How can you find out demographic-based insights so that your ad campaigns are targeted to the right people in the right places? The following sites provide statistical data on households and survey-based information on what’s forefront in your prospects’ minds:

  • Run by the Statistics Bureau of Japan, this site publishes the various government-conducted surveys of Japan’s population, with an English version of their site available, too. Find out income earned by population segments or household expenditure categories and more. 

  • Rakuten Insight. With surveys and data stretching back to 2009, Rakuten Insight collects and publishes surveys they have conducted on a wide range of consumer behavior topics. 

  • Chosa no chikara. This site is run by IT Media, an online portal listing questionnaires and surveys within almost every industry category. 

  • Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living. For the past 28 years, the Hakuhodo Institute has been conducting a long-ongoing survey to assess current and changing consumer values and lifestyles in the Tokyo and Hanshin area. They provide summaries of findings by category and clear graphs to show trends in answers received. A must-see to get a pulse on Japanese consumer values.   

Research by industry and segment

Before making a big business move, branching out into new territory, or launching an initiative, look at industry growth factors to see if your move is sound. These sites provide you with statistics to give you the input you need to make a well-informed choice:

  • The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has a page dedicated to statistics related to trends in industry and economy in Japan.  

  • The government’s official statistics portal site is divided into 17 categories, including land, weather, population, household structure, labor, wages, agriculture, fishery, forestry, dairy production, mining, service industry, construction, energy, water, transportation, tourism, science and technology, education, culture, sports, social security, and more. 

  • Gyokai-search. This site provides data on growth by industry and industry sub-categories. For instance, it will tell you the growth rate, profit rate, industrial scale, and more for each category in their 150-industry list. It’s free to access, and it draws information from companies’ annual securities reports. 

  • National Diet Library. The National Diet Library offers a page on their site titled “How to check industry trends,” which is a fantastic resource for finding authoritative statistical information on production volume, market size, industry outlook, market share, industry lists, and more. 

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Marketing and sales trends

Want to know what sales and marketing strategies your competitors are using? Bookmark a couple of these sites to understand how Japanese businesses use coupons and campaigns to keep customers loyal and engaged:

  • One of the largest coupon portal sites in Japan. Filter by region, industry, and price, etc. A great site to keep track of what your competitors are up to.

  • Mobile Marketing Data Labo. Research on smartphone use, online retail, and online marketing in Japan. The latest industry reports, articles, and surveys. 

  • Dentsu Inc. One of the largest advertising companies in Japan, Dentsu Inc. keeps track of nationwide advertising expenses by year since 1947. You can look at advertising expenses by industry, by medium, trends in ad spend, and the general expense rate for each media type. 

  • Publishes trends, surveys, and insights into how businesses in Japan use social media for marketing. 

Product pricing research

How should you be pricing your products or services? The following comparison sites give you an overview of product prices in your business category, as well as a look at what the top sellers are for many shopping categories: 

  • Shoply. A site that compares prices of major online shopping portals, where you can take a look at top-selling items on each site. 

  • Kakaku. From cars and PCs to clothes and foodstuffs, this site compares everything from every conceivable genre. You can refine your search by price point and reviews. 

  • Hikaku. Covering a vast range of products, is one of the top comparison sites in Japan.

Market research reports

Compiling research yourself can be a time-consuming task. The following Japanese companies publish widely read industry reports and analyses, many of which are accessible for free: 

Market-centric news sites that Japanese executives use

Wondering what sites Japanese executives frequent to get their news? Here are some favorites that come highly recommended:

  • ITmedia focuses on technology-related news, targeting IT, engineers, and manufacturers.

  • is the go-to site for executives in Japan. Nikkei Asia is their English sister site, providing business, economy, and tech analysis in English.

  • PRESIDENT Online is the website version of the monthly print magazine focused on present-day business-related information and news for a younger business demographic.

A tip for conducting market research in Japanese

If you want to try your hand at conducting Japanese market research on your own, here are the kanji to affix to the terms you are searching:

  • Industry + 市場規模 (shijyoukibo = market size)

  • Industry + 市場調査 (shijyouchyousa = market survey)

  • Category + 利用者数 (riyoushasuu = number of users)

  • Category + 利用動向 (riyoudoucou = utilization trend) 

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