90 Leisure-Related Markets in Japan: Key Research Findings 2019
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the 90 domestic leisure-related markets and found out their trends for 2019.
Summary of Research Findings
The research on the 90 domestic leisure-related markets ranged extensively, including the travelling market and the food service market. Because the leisure industry is formed by a broad range of related markets, it is no exaggeration to say that everything in the world can be related to leisure. The market report has covered a summary of various categories of market trends within the leisure industry.
The 90 leisure-related markets do not only include conventional ones like golf and skiing, but also emerging markets such as smartphone games and VR. The conventional markets have been shrinking year by year in terms of the number of participants and market size, which led them to grope for new approaches to acquire new customer bases.
For instance, the golf market has tried to break through the Japanese infamous habit of mixing golf and business (i.e. to play golf with business customers where sometimes the player intentionally lose against his/her customers) by encouraging more users to play golf more freely and at lower fees without any caddie to accompany. This increased the number of golf players in early mornings or during vacant time in weekdays. In addition, the golf course managers have added non-golf services to attract families visiting the glamping sites or other outdoor facilities in the neighborhood of the golf courses. Meanwhile, rising numbers of overseas tourists started making a long stay at some ski resorts, while the domestic skiing population declining to the contrary. To attract customers and secure profits even during non-snowing seasons, mountain bike courses, Zip line, camping/glamping sites, etc. have increased at such areas. By jumping on the bandwagon of the outdoor boom, such development of activities and services is likely to increase furthermore.
Because this research was carried out during 2019, the influence of COVID-19 pandemics to the markets in 2020 was not included. As people refrained from enjoying leisure, for it is positioned as “nonessential and non-urgent” matter, the influence of the pandemics is overwhelming. Nevertheless, the demand for leisure does not disappear, which is considered to make the report to be effective in the post-COVID-19 world.
As Luxury Leisure Growing, Key for Success is Particularity and Experiences
In the wake of the lingering price-conscious deflation, two types of trends are currently observed in the leisure industry: One is to continue pursuing low prices, and the other is to give priority to the quality, by adding values to products and services. The reasons of increasing demand for high-value added products and services are because of the rising tendency of economic recovery stimulating consumer spending, and of the low-price strategy coming to a deadlock, as inexpensiveness can no longer attract customers satisfactorily.
In particular, the tourism industry has increased the profiles of high-value-added products and services. Since the major customer base has shifted to senior citizens from youngsters and young families, demand has shifted to higher-quality services from inexpensive ones. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, the number of participants of luxury cruise ships in 2018 was 321,000 people, updating the past record. Despite that the fee for the tours on a Japanese cruise ship is costly with at least 40,000 to 50.000 yen for a night per person, or around 4 million yen for an around-the-world cruise, such tours have kept on selling out. In addition, as luxury cruising train, the “Seven Stars in Kyushu” has come into service by JR Kyushu in 2013, costing at least 350,000 yen per person depending on the route of the journey and the room, every tour planned so far had to carry out a lottery to select passengers, for there were at an average 20 times more applications for the rooms available. The success of the Seven Stars urged JR East Japan as well as JR West Japan to provide cruise train services, all of which attracting large number of applicants for going on board.
Having more time and money than younger generations and families with small children, the senior citizens are eager to spend on leisure for a certain quality of experience such as going on a luxury cruise ship or train rather than to spend on getting possession of things. While consumption slows down due to the COVID-19 pandemics, the senior citizens continue to be the important factor for the leisure industries in the mid-to-long term perspectives.
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