Japan's fussy food shoppers finally go online amid pandemic
Japan Today -- Jul 01
The coronavirus has forced Japan's notoriously fussy food shoppers to abandon doubts about online grocery stores, sending retailers such as Aeon Co scrambling to meet a surge in delivery demand.

Although Japanese shoppers aren't alone in going online during the outbreak, the shift is remarkable for a country that had been expected to take years to embrace online food shopping because of a zeal for fresh and perfectly presented produce.

"I think that this pandemic has triggered an inflection point in the adoption of grocery e-commerce," said Luke Jensen, executive director of Ocado Group, hired to build a grocery e-commerce business for Japanese retail giant Aeon.

Most companies won't disclose numbers, but retail executives and analysts estimate internet sales now account for about 5% or more of Japan's total grocery sales, compared with 2.5% before the pandemic.

Although that is still lower than some pre-crisis estimates of 15% in China and even 7% in broadband laggard Britain, it challenges a long-held belief that Japanese shoppers will always on shopping daily and in person, checking the goods first-hand.

Yuri Ohtaka, a graphic designer living in Tokyo's western suburbs, began ordering from multiple online supermarkets in March after seeing shoppers emptying shelves at a nearby store.

Although fears of shortages have subsided, online deliveries have made it easier as she works from home, making three meals a day for her family, including her 3-year-old son. She's also happy to avoid stores amid fears of infections.

"There's no need for face-to-face, dealing with registers, or standing in line," she said, adding that she's also persuaded her parents to go online. "They were shopping every day in the supermarket, and I really didn't want them to."

As more households have two people working, analysts say, people want to spend less time shopping. But they still have exacting standards for service and produce quality, which have perplexed previous foreign entrants such as Carrefour and Tesco.

Such changes are closely watched as Japan is one of the world's most valuable grocery markets, worth over 50 trillion yen ($466.42 billion) a year. Per capita, only countries such as Switzerland, Norway and Israel spend more on food.

News source: Japan Today
Jul 10
A 24-year-old woman in custody after she caused the death of her 3-year-old daughter by leaving her alone at their residence for more than one week barricaded her inside with furniture, police have revealed, reports Fuji News Network (July 9). (tokyoreporter.com)
Jul 09
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested three persons, including a student at Joshibi College of Art and Design, over the alleged spraying of graffiti in Shibuya Ward, reports Fuji News Network (July 8). (tokyoreporter.com)
Jul 09
A police officer fatally shot himself in Chiyoda Ward early Wednesday in an apparent suicide, police said, reports NHK (July 8). (tokyoreporter.com)
Jul 09
Popular rapper Kan a.k.a. Gami, who is out on bail after being accused of possessing marijuana earlier this year, has been arrested again for the same crime, police said, reports Sports Nippon (July 7). (tokyoreporter.com)
Jul 09
There is simply no denying that Japan has always been a technological leader. (newsonjapan.com)
Jul 09
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 24-year-old woman for allegedly leaving her 3-year-old daughter alone at their residence for more than one week, resulting in her death, reports NHK (July 8). (tokyoreporter.com)
Jul 08
In southwestern Japan, emergency crews are searching for survivors and assessing the damage after days of torrential rain. (NHK)
Jul 08
Japanese officials warned of more heavy rain on the southwestern island of Kyushu and bolstered search and rescue operations, as the death toll in flood-hit areas reached at least 50 with about a dozen people reported missing. (Global News)
Jul 07
Yamanashi Prefectural Police on Sunday arrested a 40-year-old-man over the alleged stabbing of a girl in her late teens in Nirasaki City, reports the Sankei Shimbun (July 5). (tokyoreporter.com)
Jul 07
Kanagawa Prefectural Police on Sunday arrested a 53-year-old man over the alleged fatal stabbing of his brother at their residence in Yokohama City, reports the Sankei Shimbun (July 5). (tokyoreporter.com)