Archive for category Data

Date: April 6th, 2010
Cate: Data, Insight

Dear Pets

Inspired from the tweet by 5by50: Pets outnumbered kids since 2003 in Japan. By 2009, total of 23.2 million cats and dogs. While the number of kids remain six million.

What can be the reason behind? For one explanation, you can look at another data, which describes the daycare capacity of the nation. As Japan has been hit by the recent economy crisis, many housewives are trying to be back to work to compensate the decreasing household incomes. However, because of a severe delay in Japanese government to be prepared for the situation; Japanese daycare can only hold 2.13 million and there are 46,000 children waiting to be served.

Date: June 18th, 2008
Cate: Data

Mobile payment and Japanese men


“I cannot live without mobile Suica,” says a male friend in 30s. He said he basically stopped carrying coins, which used to occupy his trouser pockets.

This sounds like a great success story. Mobile Suica service enabled him to use his mobile phone for small payments and have replace his heavy coins. But how widely is this phenomena spread?

According to Ke-tai White Paper 2008′s survey report, 60% of their respondents told they have a phone capable of the feature. Among them, 15% actually uses mobile payment. That is not really high. Partly I blame this to the tedious registration process that you have to go through. Considering how easy it is to get one of those Suica cards in JR stations, I clearly see that there is a room for improvement.

One interesting finding was the usage rate differences between genders. Men using mobile payment reached 20% while women 10%; in particular, for men between 10 and 19, the usage rate reached 30%.

The same report also talks about how much they spend per payment. 80% told that a typical payment is below 1000 yen (about 6 EUR). Since in Japan the smallest bill is 1000 yen, it exactly confirms my friend’s earlier comment: These cards replace coins.

Date: April 23rd, 2008
Cate: Data

Circulating atoms in a busy city – Packet delivery in Tokyo

If I were to choose three things I missed when living away from Japan, they were the food, having four real seasons (spring, summer, winter, and fall each lasting around three months), and an efficient and inexpensive delivery system.

Major delivery service companies in Japan deliver packages in convenient time slots that can be chosen by the sender (see Table 1). The system is very reliable and flexible. Delivery hours can be set within relatively small windows of time, so people don’t have to spend a lot of time waiting at home for deliveries. Even in Japan, delivery was not always this easy. In past years people could only choose from a few broad time periods, such as morning, afternoon, or evening). In those days, people waiting for a delivery were required to stay at home, waiting for a package which might arrive at any time during a four to five hour period. At that time, receiving a package was a  special event which had to be prepared for. (It was a bit like waiting for a phone call before mobile phones became generally available).

Table 1. Sample delivery times offered by delivery service companies.


While things are a lot better than the bad old days, can further improvement be made. Is current delivery scheduling flexible enough to meet the demand’s of today’s Japanese lifestyle? As you can see from Table 1, the latest delivery time each day finishes at 9pm and the person receiving the package needs to be home by 8pm in case the delivery arrives at the start of the allotted time. How many working people in Japan can guarantee to be home by 8pm?

Statistical data from the Japanese government is available about living hours in Japan (e-Stat, Portal Site of Official Statistics of Japan, URL is below). According to that data, the average time of coming home from work is 6:58pm nationwide (N=38,950), and 7:19pm in the Tokyo metropolitan area (N=5,008). For the people who are employed in companies their average time of returning home each day is 7:44pm (N=18,678) and again the time for Tokyo residents is likely to be somewhat later. The people who came back home at the latest times were single men in their early 20s (N=774), and the average time for them to come back home is 8:39pm.
Thus coming back home to get packages delivered remains as a different problem for large groups of people within Japanese society.

So, given this unmet need, how will people adjust to the challenge? Online shops are starting to offer an alternative method of receiving products at a nearby convenience store which is typically opened 24 hours a day and seven days a week. In addition, some (mostly high-class) condominiums have so-called Delivery Boxes where courier can leave a package inside (Figure 1 and 2). As proof of delivery, these Delivery  boxes can print out a proof of delivery as the door is closed, and this slip can then be placed in the receiver’s post box.


Figure 1.  Examples of the Delivery box.


Figure 2. Control panel of the Delivery box (the one in the right of Figure 1).

This sophisticated delivery system seems currently unique to Japan. We will continue to track this issue in future. Japan, land of convenient deliveries!



Yamato Transport

Nippon Express (Nittsu)  (Japanese)

Sagawa Express

Japan Post

Date: April 15th, 2008
Cate: Data

Data: Design, the decision maker for purchasing mobile phones

Recently, Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization (JIDPO) released an interesting survey about Japanese consumers’ mindset on design. One of the questions was "Upon purchase, for which product do you consider design as the most important decision factor? Choose three."

Which products do you think ranked high? From top, they were:

  1. mobile phones
  2. watches
  3. bags
  4. cars

Enlarge and see details from the charts below:


While bags were skewed to women and cars to men, mobile phones had
quite a consistent ratio across gender
. As for the age, younger
generation considered phone design more important
, but still, apart
from people over 50s, figures were higher than any other products they surveyed.

This came to our surprise, as we have been thinking how wrist watches
lost its original purpose and became a fashion product. Looking at the data, it seems that that is more of the case for mobile, especially for the young. Why is that?

Our assumptions: Subtle design queues? Although many Japanese phones embodies similar spec like fold, large quality displays, and large keypads which make them look alike, perhaps there are design elements that make people choose one phone from the other. Or, perhaps it’s a reverse way of saying what products offer do not matter much because operator always drove new services and multiple manufacturers provide phones enabling them at the same time. In addition, many services are provided by provided by third parties via mobile Internet.

In any case, an interesting result from JIPDO.

Source: JIDPO (in Japanese)