High school spending habits in Japan: A mature brand savvy culture of mobile phone users

April 17, 2008

The Japanese Ministry of Education, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) this week released their survey results on high school students spending in Japan, America, China, and Korea. The survey revealed Japanese high school students to be quite savvy in regards to high end brands and fashion and compared to the other countries, Japanese parents had a strong tendency not to interfere with their children's spending habits.

The survey, which was carried out in Fall 2007, covered 5395 people in the four countries. More than half of all Chinese and Korean students ask their parents for spending money, compared to 34.3% of American youth and just 23.6% of Japanese. Approximately half of the Japanese surveyed said their parents had an attitude of saving money, which was the least among the respondents.

Japanese youth were most likely to be influenced by TV and magazine marketing and advertising. Furthermore, while high school students in Japan were on top in terms of being influenced by celebrity fashion trends, they are also most likely to discard recently in-vogue styles, and to have a strong feeling for wanting to be rich and have the latest brands.

96.5% of those surveyed in Japan had a mobile phone, an overwhelming number compared to 63.4% in China. On the other hand, when it came to owning a personal computer the smallest number of respondents were Japanese with 21.0% compared to American teens who had the most at 60.7%.

Interestingly, Japanese were number one in terms of saving for the future, with 88.4%. Across the four countries, between 30-50% felt money could be used for buying power and influence, while less than 30% said they wanted wealthy friends. The head researcher of the survey project commented "This survey seems so show a maturation of society with less of a tendency towards money worship".