June 17, 2010
With less overtime, Japanese start consuming more midweek
Here in Japan, where workers typically have long hours, people often cite a desire for more free time to pursue hobbies or personal interests like fitness or English classes. But it turns out that given more free time, many Japanese have ended up going online shopping. A midweek bump in e-commerce has been a somewhat surprising outcome of the recession-driven trend toward cutting workers’ overtime hours on Wednesdays. Yahoo! Japan reported that in 2009, single-day sales on Wednesdays exceeded those on Sundays, and the Rakuten Ichiba―a big e-commerce site―reports Wednesday evening sales have increased 20 percent vs. the previous year, especially among men 30 to 40. A Rakuten executive has attributed the Wednesday effect to more people being home in front of computers. Additionally, many e-commerce shoppers know purchases made on Wednesdays can be delivered in time for weekend use.
Brands are now targeting the Wednesday crowd. Some have responded by creating age-restrictive sales on Wednesdays—Tokyo Disney Resort, for example, is selling a “Wednesday Passport,” a discount for people over age 45. As more people start taking advantage of these offers, the Wednesday habit may well continue beyond the recession.
Photo credit: rakuten.co.jp