September 5, 2023
As we navigate the emerging post-COVID era, understanding the evolving perspectives and behaviors of consumers is crucial. The gradual uptick in COVID-19 infections and the public's cautious outlook towards the future underscore the need to continue robust health measures. Nevertheless, the increased intent in spending, especially in signals potential rebounds in various sectors.
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan held a meeting with experts on August 4, 2023, to discuss the current state of COVID-19 infections in the country. They observed a gradual increase in infections nationwide. As the summer heats up, there is potential for the number of infections to continue rising, which could lead to a significant strain on the healthcare system.
The meeting came about a month after the last one on July 7, reflecting on the latest infection trends. Since early April, the country has been experiencing a gradual increase in the number of new patients, even after transitioning to category 5 in the Infection Diseases Control Law, marking an 11-week continuous increase.
In regional terms, while there is a decreasing trend in Okinawa Prefecture, where the infection expanded earlier, there has been an increase in 42 prefectures compared to the previous week.
The "XBB lineage" of the Omicron variant predominates the detected cases of coronavirus, with an increase in the more transmissible "EG5.1". In view of past situations, there is a possibility that the number of infected people may continue to increase during the summer, and there could also be a significant burden on the healthcare provision system.
In response to these findings, the expert meeting requested vigilant adherence to basic measures such as ventilation, wearing masks effectively, and handwashing, even during the summer vacation when interactions between people increase.
The Z. com Engagement Lab conducted a survey from June 30, 2023, to July 3, 2023, among Japanese internet users aged between 16 and 60. The survey collected 1,323 samples, and its main purpose was to aid business decision-makers across various sectors in understanding consumers' perspectives in the post-COVID era.
According to the survey, around 50% of respondents perceive worsening conditions over the past year and expect the situation to deteriorate further in the coming year. This is despite the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's expert meeting warning of a potential surge in infections during the summer.
Approximately 13.6% of respondents (a 2% increase from the previous month) perceive the current situation as extremely dangerous. Conversely, 32.2% do not view the situation as too serious, marking a 4% decline from the previous month.
In terms of spending over the next month, 30% anticipate an increase, while 21% foresee a decrease. All age groups showed improved purchasing willingness, especially among people aged 50-60 years, where 36% expect an increase in their budget.
The data gathered from the survey offers valuable insights for businesses looking to navigate the post-COVID consumer landscape.
Z. com Engagement Lab will continue to track the consumer behavior of the Japanese public and update survey data, monitoring market trends and changes in consumer demand.