Where has expenditure gone during Japan’s summer bonus season? A survey conducted in June by the MM Research Institute found that 74% of respondents anticipated no changes from the previous year. Their main outlays were to be directed towards purchases of so-called IT–digital electric home appliances, led by smartphones and TV receivers. Those responding that plans to purchase had increased over a year ago totalled 12.1%, representing a slight rise from 2016.
The survey, conducted between May 30 and June 1, polled 1,121 adult members of the NTT Com Research service, of whom 15.3% replied their summer bonus was more than 1% above that of the previous year; 50.6% said it was more or less unchanged; and 6.4% said their bonus had declined by more than 1%.
Plans for utilising the bonus include saving or investment (61.4%), followed by purchasing products or services (37.2%). Of the latter, purchases of a car or bicycle, clothing and accessories, in addition to overseas travel and dining out, among other alternatives, all showed declines from 2016 figures, whereas the 40.4% indicating plans to purchase IT–digital-related goods were up 11.7 percentage points over the figure revealed by last year’s survey. Reduced prices for 4K high-resolution flat-screen TVs and high-performance personal computers are believed to be driving the new demand.
The survey also revealed a rise in planned expenditure on appliances related to health and beauty treatments. At the same time, outlays on items related to food preparation and appliances for home use were down.