What to expect this Valentine’s Day in Japan

Advertisement

Do you think there should be exchanging of obligatory chocolates at work? graph of japanese statisticsIt’s coming up to that time of the year in Japan where the women may express their love and have to express their gratitute, so Macromill Inc looked at women and Valentine’s Day.

Demographics

Over the 21st and 22nd of January 2009 515 female members of the Macromill monitor group aged between twenty and thirty-nine completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 54 were aged between 20 and 24, 155 between 25 and 29, 174 between 30 and 34, and 132 between 35 and 39.

In Japan there are two different types of chocolate that women must buy for Valentine’s Day. The first kind is “true” (本命, honmei) chocolates, the other “obligatory” (義理, giri); the first goes to your true love (or object of infatuation, etc), the second male colleagues at work. As you may guess, the amount of effort and expense gone to for each type varies greatly!

Note that “traditionally” it is the women who give men presents on Valentine’s Day, and they hope for something in return on White Day, the 14th of March. However, from this year some of the chocolate makers have been promoting 逆チョコ, gyaku choko, reverse chocolates, which come in a mirror imaged box.

Two years ago I translated a similar Macromill Valentine survey that you may want to cross-reference.

Research results

Q1: Do you plan to buy chocolates for Valentine’s Day this year? (Sample size=515)

Yes77.5%
No (to Q8)14.2%
Don’t know (to Q8)8.3%

Looking at the breakdown by age, there was little significant difference to be noted except for the 20 to 24 year olds; perhaps too many of them are busy with univeristy and college to worry about love?

Q2: For whom do you plan to buy chocolates? (Sample size=399, multiple answer)

True chocolate

Husband or boyfriend70.2%
Object of infatuation11.5%

Obligatory chocolate

Boss52.1%
Family46.6%
Colleagues or subordinates40.6%
Male friend18.5%
Female friend11.8%
Other2.5%

My chocolate

Myself16.5%

Q3: Where do you plan to buy these chocolates? (Sample size=311, 324, and 66, multiple answer)

 True chocolate
N=311
Obligatory chocolate
N=324
My chocolate
N=66
Famous brand shop19.6%9.0%34.8%
Famous patisserie shop14.1%5.2%47.0%
Department store52.1%63.6%68.2%
Supermarket, convenience store11.3%25.9%6.1%
Internet shopping13.8%15.1%25.8%
Hand-made31.8%9.0%4.5%
Other2.9%3.4%3.0%

Q4: How much are you budgeting for one box of chocolates? (Sample size=311, 324, and 66)

True chocolate
N=311
2,201 yen
Obligatory chocolate
N=324
826 yen
My chocolate
N=66
2,034 yen

Q5: Which maker’s chocolates do you plan to buy? (Sample size=249, 307 and 66, free and multiple answer, top five answers)

RankTrue chocolate
N=249
PercentageObligatory chocolate
N=307
PercentageMy chocolate
N=66
Percentage
1Godiva31.7%Morozoff14.7%Pierre Marcolini24.2%
2Pierre Marcolini12.4%Godiva12.4%Jean-Paul Hevin19.7%
3Jean-Paul Hevin11.2%Royce10.1%Royce18.2%
4Royce10.4%Mary’s Chocolate9.4%Godiva16.7%
5Demel8.8%Meiji, Morinaga, Lotte7.8% eachDemel12.1%
Don’t know yet44.2%Don’t know yet55.7%Don’t know yet39.4%

Q6: Do you plan to give anything along with the true chocolates? (Sample size=311)

Yes (to SQ)37.6%
No27.3%
Don’t know35.0%

Q6SQ: What do you plan to give along with the true chocolates? (Sample size=117, free and multiple answer)

Rank Percentage
1Clothes20.5%
2Necktie17.1%
3Scarf12.8%
4Handkerchief11.1%
5Gloves10.3%
6CD, DVD7.7%
7=Wallet6.8%
7=Wristwatch6.8%
7=Interior item6.8%
7=Alcohol6.8%

Q7: Do you expect to get anything in return for your chocolates? (Sample size=311 and 324)

 True chocolate
N=311
Obligatory chocolate
N=324
Expect to (to SQ)23.8%15.4%
Perhaps expect to (to SQ)33.1%29.3%
Don’t really expect to26.7%28.7%
No expectations at all10.9%17.9%
Don’t want anything5.5%8.6%

Q7SQ: What would you like to get in return for your chocolates? (Sample size=177 and 145)

 True chocolate
N=177
Obligatory chocolate
N=145
Cake30.5%34.5%
Cookies24.9%53.1%
Chocolate22.6%50.3%
Marshmallows6.8%8.3%
Candies4.0%15.2%
Caramel1.7%11.0%
Other sweeties1.7%4.8%
Accessories34.5%4.1%
Bag20.9%1.4%
Clothes14.7%1.4%
Shoes8.5%2.8%
Handkerchief, hand towel4.0%17.2%
Meal43.5%13.8%
Flowers13.0%1.4%
Other7.3%5.5%

Q8: Do you think that the exchanging of obligatory chocolates at work should be carried out? (Sample size=515)

Should be (to SQ1)3.9%
Perhaps should be (to SQ1)25.2%
Perhaps shouldn’t be (to SQ2)38.6%
Should not be (to SQ2)32.2%

There is a very definite trend with age, with 37.0% of those between 20 and 24 being in favour to some extent, versus just 17.4% of those between 35 and 39.

Q8SQ1: Why do you think that the exchanging of obligatory chocolates at work should be carried out? (Sample size=150, multiple answer)

Because it’s a good opportunity to deepen communication75.3%
Because it’s a good opportunity to express feelings of gratitute64.0%
Because it’s an enjoyable yearly event28.7%
Because I can expect something at White Day14.0%
Because I feel I will get a higher evaluation at work4.0%
Other2.7%

15% of those between 20 and 24 thought they’d get a better evaluation at work from giving chocolates.

Q8SQ2: Why do you think that the exchanging of obligatory chocolates at work should not be carried out? (Sample size=365, multiple answer)

Because it’s bothersome73.2%
Because it’s quite an expense64.1%
Because I must give them to people I don’t want to50.7%
Because it’s a terrible custom43.6%
Because I don’t have time to go and choose what to buy25.8%
Other3.0%

Q9: Compared with last year, how has your budget for presents changed? (Sample size=311, 324, and 66)

 True chocolate
N=311
Obligatory chocolate
N=324
My chocolate
N=66
Increased15.1%4.0%24.2%
Not changed81.7%84.0%72.7%
Decreased3.2%12.0%3.0%
Read more on: ,,

Custom Search

3 comments »

  1. Janne said,
    February 6, 2009 @ 23:52

    I heard “tomo-choko” for the first time today, as a term for chokolates given by a female to a female friend. See if that idea catches on. If it does, will we be required to give stuff to our male friends on White Day?

  2. February 7, 2009 @ 11:00

    Girls like to shop. But do guys?! It makes sense this girls might target other girls who will actually give something back in a month.

    From the survey it seems girls are using this to gain favor with their coworkers. So maybe this year with everyone worried about losing their jobs that the trend might increase this year, even though people are cutting down on other expenses like going out to restaurants.

    Rule #1 Protect your own ess

  3. Ian said,
    June 13, 2011 @ 06:02

    @Dave yeah so totally on there.
    i learned rule, well probly the 1st thing i did ever learn. chuckle.
    Obligatory chocolate are kinda double edge $$ sword. in my opinion.

Leave a Comment

 

1 Trackback \ Ping »

  1. February 7, 2009 @ 01:44

    […] Here is a very good look at what women are thinking around this Valentine Day period from WhatJapanThinks.com http://whatjapanthinks.com/2009/02/06/what-to-expect-this-valentines-day-in-japan/ […]