Despite increased opportunities for outings, consumers remain frugal with their wallets in Japan.

Street Corner Economy for October: Below 50 for the Second Consecutive Month Current Economic Diffusion Index (DI) at 49.5, Maintaining the Assessment amid Persistent High Prices Since January.

Source: NIKKEI 12th Nov 2023

According to the Cabinet Office’s released survey on economic watchers for October, the current situation assessment index (DI) decreased by 0.4 points from the previous month to 49.5, reaching the lowest level since January, influenced by rising prices. Despite an increase in outdoor activities, consumers are noted to be cautious with their spending. The economic assessment suggests a gradual recovery but indicates a sense of pause, leading to a unchanged current evaluation. The survey reflects a negative perception of the current economic conditions for consumers, with the index staying below 50 for three consecutive months. While sectors like retail and housing show sluggish performance, food and beverage, as well as services, exhibit some signs of improvement. The forward-looking index for the next 2-3 months is slightly pessimistic, particularly in household trends, raising concerns about the upcoming Christmas and year-end shopping season. Some uncertainties include the challenge of stimulating purchasing intentions among consumers with low spending desire and uncertainties about responding to wage increases for small and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally, concerns about the potential impact of influenza on hospitality businesses, such as city hotels in the Tohoku region, have been raised.

Embracing a Lifestyle Defense and ”TIPA”( The idea of using time efficiently) Orientation

Save with Recipe × Special Deals: Locoguide Introduces ‘Tokubai’ for Smart Savings

Source: NIKKEI 12th Nov 2023 , App TOKUBAI 

Locoguide, the operator of the shopping information service “Tokubai,” has added a recipe suggestion feature. This new functionality provides users with recipes, including special discount information, and necessary ingredient details based on their desired meal preferences. Tokubai addresses the challenges of daily meal planning and rising prices by proposing simple and affordable recipes. The app leverages OpenAI’s ChatGPT to offer a variety of recipe suggestions using commonly discounted ingredients. With over 10 million downloads, Locoguide is considering extending this feature to the browser version in the future.

The app primarily suggests recipes using easily available ingredients like thinly sliced chicken breast, pork, and seasonal vegetables that are often on special sale. It also introduces nearby stores that carry the necessary ingredients, providing information from over 73,000 nationwide stores, including supermarkets and drugstores, highlighting discounted items to assist with saving money. Consumer concerns around cooking are common, with a survey by marketing support company Nile in Tokyo’s Shinagawa ward revealing that 38% find planning meals challenging on busy workdays, and 40% struggle with lacking the motivation to cook. Rising raw material costs and the associated price hikes are additional worries, leading to a high demand for special sale information. According to a June survey by Tokyo’s Chiyoda-based Intage, 32% employ cost-saving measures in food expenses by purchasing discounted items based on flyers and other promotions.