Japan's Mobility Revolution

Trends / Sustainability
Yuri Endo
Dec 20, 2022
When it comes to environmental awareness, the Japanese consumer mindset seems to be ahead of what Japan's domestic industry proposes. According to our VisualGPS research, 3 in 4 said it’s important that their actions do not have a negative impact on the environment.

Now that we are experiencing the direct impact of climate change, Japanese consumers are making personal efforts to tackle it, but our research revealed that consumer expectation is increasingly centered on brands and businesses being more responsible if the government fails to do so. In fact, when asked if they felt the government is doing everything possible to combat climate change, only 18% said yes, which is half the global average (34%). This means there is a big opportunity for businesses to become aware of consumer demand and changing world priorities, to lead the industry in developing renewable, greener technologies to be incorporated into their products and services. So, what does this mean for visuals?
While Japan’s automakers recently engaged in large‑scale production of battery‑powered electric vehicles, eco‑friendliness and fuel efficiency were already the most requested car features from car brands and social status for Japanese consumers according to a 2018 survey.1 With technology continuing to develop, our values and expectations are also shifting, which in turn is changing our feelings towards cars, car ownership, and mobility. According to a recent survey, 85% of Japanese automotive consumers said their car buying plans had not changed due to COVID‑19.2 However, the pandemic has left people with more disposable income and a desire to spend more time outdoors, while the continuous semiconductor and parts shortage is forcing people to wait for extended periods of time to acquire a new car. Demand for electric motorcycles is stronger now than ever before amid declining car sales in Japan due to these changing consumer habits and the motorcycle industry pushing for a greener effort.
Additionally, with more than 1 in 2 Japanese people feeling that personalized tech can bring pleasure and convenience to their life, we can see that sustainability, convenience, and personalization are key drivers for consumers around their mobility, car ownership, and cars. Our research also has revealed the importance visuals play when deciding on what automotive products and services to use: Japanese consumers see the most value in information from articles, TV shows, or videos, as well as seeing the product and service in a real‑life setting. Video is the most preferred format, following illustrations and photography. It is then key to show people using their cars in real‑life settings, and what kind of benefit and freedom the car brings them. It is also important to show how renewable energies are integrated in everyday life and how people are taking action to participate in the global effort, from alternative transportation modes to moving closer to zero waste and sustainable living.

Automotive brands, therefore, can educate and support their customers by highlighting their social responsibility and engagement in their visual choices.
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