Japanese Parents Slash Christmas Budgets Amid Rising Costs

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As the festive season approaches, a recent survey reveals that Japanese parents are planning to spend less on their children’s Christmas gifts this year, marking a continued downward trend in holiday spending.

The survey, conducted by prominent Japanese toy manufacturer Bandai Co., shows the average budget for children’s Christmas gifts has dropped for the fourth year in a row. This year, parents are expected to spend about 7,718 yen (approximately $52), a slight decrease from the 2022 figure.

Bandai Co., renowned for their annual surveys since 1995, gathered data from 600 respondents aged between their 20s and 50s, all parents of children aged 3 to 12. The survey, carried out online in early November, offers a glimpse into current consumer sentiment in Japan.

Spending Trends

The majority of parents (43.8%) plan to spend between 5,000 yen and 6,000 yen (around $34 to $41) on Christmas gifts. The next largest group (30.8%) anticipates spending between 10,000 yen and 20,000 yen (about $68 to $136). Interestingly, despite the average budget decrease, 94% of respondents stated their budget would either remain the same or increase compared to last year.

Factors Influencing Budget Changes

A notable decrease is observed in the highest spending tier, with only 4.8% planning to spend 20,000 yen or more, down from last year’s 5.7%. This drop, including a decline in the average amount spent in this bracket from roughly 34,000 yen ($231) last year to 29,310 yen (about $200) this year, has significantly impacted the overall average.

Parents cited “age-appropriate change” as the primary reason for increasing their gift budget, while “change in the cost of gifts requested by children” was the most common reason for reducing spending. Additionally, 34.4% of respondents attributed increased other expenses due to higher prices as a factor in their budgeting decisions.

Popular Gifts

Children’s preferences remain consistent with the previous year, with gaming software (19.0%), gaming consoles (7.0%), and character cosplay toys (4.8%) topping the list. Notably, electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers have risen in popularity, now ranking fourth at 3.8%. This surge, especially among 9- to 12-year-olds, is attributed to the integration of such devices in elementary school education, prompting desires for similar gadgets at home.

The Broader Picture

This trend of reduced spending on children’s Christmas gifts in Japan reflects broader economic pressures and changing consumer habits. As parents navigate the complexities of rising prices and evolving children’s interests, the holiday season’s spending patterns offer valuable insights into the current state of the Japanese economy and family dynamics.

Source: Mainichi

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