NRI Papers
No. 209 July 1, 2016
  Direction of Change in Consumers' Use of Information and Lifestyles
--Suggestions based on a three-country survey in Japan, the U.S. and China (Volume 2)--
 
Hiroyuki NITTO, Ikko SOGA, Sonia SUSANTO and Shiraki KATOKU

American consumers make the most of new Internet-based services. In terms of spending consciousness, they tend to divide purchases into two groups - price-sensitive purchases vs. preference-oriented, quality-focused purchases. Other distinctive tendencies include placing high priority on one's personality and lifestyle and emphasizing experiences over tangible goods. The new generation known as "millennials," which is drawing increased attention in the U.S., is the country's first "always connected" generation. At the same time, they prefer to live in urban areas, where no need for cars and "walkability" are the key factors in deciding where to live.

In China, even though the overall rate of Internet use is still low, given the rapid spread of smartphones, some early adopters are extremely active in taking advantage of Internet-based services. Nevertheless the sharply increasing number of cybercrimes and inferior quality of products/services are causing consumers to have high degrees of interest in safety and security.

While the percentage of individuals using the Internet is over 80 percent in Japan, about the same as in the U.S., Japanese consumers tend to use the Internet only as a tool for communication such as sending/receiving email and exchanging messages. Another notable tendency is that they have a strong concern over privacy leakage and new types of cybercrimes.

Japanese consumers are sensitive to information affecting their buying decisions, and actively gather information before making purchases. Nevertheless, they seem to be unable to use the information sufficiently and skillfully. Even among young people, there is a low level of awareness regarding the Internet as a tool for social participation and social change, albeit their active use of SNS. In the future, it is expected that new innovation will happen at a consumer level that is driven by increased opportunities to engage in new things actively such as innovative ICT-based products and services.

Contents
I ICT Use and Attitudes toward Progress of Internet Society
II Information Use and Consumption Behavior
III Leisure Activities and Lifestyles
IV Summary of Survey Results and Future Outlook

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