Consumer perceptions of large retail stores in Japan
This thesis considers consumer perceptions of large stores in Japan. A lack of published English language research concerned with consumer behaviour in Japan was noted, despite strong and growing interest in the Japanese consumer market. Japanese distribution is reviewed as the background to an empirical study of store perceptions in Japan. This review considered Japanese wholesale and retail structures in detail in order to provide information necessary to understand the situation of large retail stores in Japan. The possibility of substantial store 'loyalty' in Japan was considered on the basis of an observed hierarchical structure to store preferences. A review of the literature pertaining to consumer 'loyalty' revealed that genuinely 'loyal' behaviour is likely to be rare. Consumepr reference was considered, and the development of hierarchical preference was identified. - An empirical study was carried out over a one year period in Japan. The study involved a two part survey employing repertory grid interviews and a questionnaire survey. Four regional cities and five consumer types were employed for the survey. This approach proved successful in collecting a large volume of detailed data. The use of repertory grid as a technique for data collection was considered in the light of its use with Japanese consumers in the Japanese language. It was concluded that Japanese consumers have clear and detailed perceptions of the large stores available for their use. Some differences were identified between consumer types and different geographical locations in Japan.