Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2004, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (7s): 167-174.doi: 10.11821/xb20047s023

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Progress of Geographical Study on Consumer Behavior in Japan

CHAI Yanwei, WANG Maojun   

  1. Department of City and Regional Planning, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2004-04-07 Revised:2004-06-26 Online:2004-12-25 Published:2004-12-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40171034


The geographical studies on consumer behavior in Japan began in the 1970s, prospered during the 1980s and turned to the period of decline after 1990. They were greatly influenced by the behaviorism originating in America and Europe. This article tries to summarize the characteristics of the progress of Japanese consumer behavior studies since the 1970s, from various viewpoints such as spatial choice models, multi-place and multipurpose trips, time geographical approach, commercial spatial structure and consumers' attributes. Consumer behavior studies in Japan followed the trends of behavioral geography and humanistic geography after the World War II, and the focus had shifted from normative studies such as those on quantitative models and commercial central place to behavioral study. The studies emphasizing individual differences, relating to other behaviors and concerning with social relevance were taking the place of positivism research and came to be the mainstream. The characteristics of consumer behavior studies in Japan can be summarized as follows: (1) paid more attention to residents rather than consumers; (2) made full use of the ever-increasing formal commercial surveys and consumer behavior surveys; (3) distinguished themselves in micro-level empirical study; (4) had obvious development in qualitative studies; (5) began to apply GIS to the consumer behavior studies; (6) lacked social relevance and had few planning and policy oriented studies, but (7) the application oriented studies had been becoming a new trend in response to the ever-increasing intensification of the competition between colleges since the 1990s.

Key words: consumer behavior, spatial choice models, time geography, consumers&rsquo, attributes, commercial spatial structure, Japan