Interesting article from CNN Go Asia on 8 Feb 2010 about Japanese Gen Y simply not buying.
How times have changed. Japan’s Generation Y have become famous for hating to buy anything. They were first reluctant to buy cars. And now we find out that Japanese youth are also disinterested in motorbikes. Sales for 2009 were a mere 10% of the market’s peak some 23 years ago.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this younger set are different. Generational Theory suggests that each generation, based on the world they grow up in, develop a set of values that in places are different to the generations before them, and those to follow.
I guess what can be surprising is just how different they are! The challenge from a marketing and product development perspective is trying to read these trends and shifts in order to respond accordingly and quickly. Around the world, in most countries this market segment is a large segment. They’re large in number and in wallet size. Not seeing their changing needs and wants can be be detrimental to any business setting their sights on them to secure future growth and revenue.
In most developed world economies there is still a healthy baby boomer population to support short term sales and growth, but once they begin to exit the economy, business is going to have to pander to the younger set coming through. The developing world economies don’t have that luxury. They need to adapt and adjust to these young people NOW!
As this article suggests, this particular group in this particular country are not simply interested in a different colour, shape and size. They’re fundamentally different. Business is going to have to radically change how it goes about what it does, or hope and pray like crazy that they’ll change their world view. Fat chance in my opinion.