Japanese youth choosing bargains over luxe

Japan is churning out a new generation of more careful shoppers. Instead of their parents’ choice of more luxe and expensive items, Japan’s youthful generations are gravitating toward value over top brand names.

“For me, number one is quality and design,” Mayu Kawasaki, a Japanese shopper, told WWD. “I always want to find something that can be worn or used long term. And second is price, because fashion changes all the time. So if I can get cheap stuff, I don’t feel it’s a waste to use it only for the season.”

Having grown up during Japan’s economic collapse, these savvy teens and 20-somethings know a thing or two about finding bargains.

In a recently released report by McKinsey & Co., Brian Salsberg and Naomi Yamakawa maintained that “almost 30 percent of shoppers under 30 named price as the most important factor they consider when shopping, compared to just 21 percent for those over age 50.”

In reaction to the poor economy, consumer spending in Japan has dramatically declined, with luxury hit the hardest. In fact, Japan’s per-capita expenditure on clothing and footwear dropped about 64 percent between 1995 and 2007, and, according to Euromonitor International, this is expected to only persist.

Co-founder of Tokyo-based trend agency Five by Fifty, Charles Spreckley phrased it as so, “Young people are still fashionable, they are just not as consumerist as they once were, and not as easily transfixed by brand names.”

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