Household expenditure saw a growth of only 1.0% in 5 years from 2015 to 2019 even as GDP grew 2.5% and household income grew 9.2%. In 2020, household expenditure (of working households) contracted 6.5% when both household income and savings grew, which can possibly lead to significant spending recovery when restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are waived.

Food expenditure increased the most when total household expenditure had a marginal growth of 1.0% over the past 5 years, which supported the growth of mixed merchandise channels. In 2020, food spending further increased for most food categories except for a few such as Meals Outside the Home and Packed Lunch.

The E-Commerce channel grew the most among mixed merchandise channels by accounting for 51% of Japan’s total retail revenue growth in the past 5 years. Substantial growths were also seen in the Drugstore and Discount Store channels while the General Merchandising Store and Department Store channels declined.

In 2020, the retail sales index reported a record low of minus 13.9% in April when the state of emergency was issued. Shortfall was prominent among category specialists, however the majority of mixed merchandise channels significantly increased their sales in 2020, notably Supermarket, CO-OP, Home Center and Drugstore.

The amount spent on online shopping went up in April 2020 when the state of emergency was issued. It went up again from October when COVID-19 cases increased and peaked in December 2020. Ratio of households purchasing goods and services online reached 54.5% in December, an 11.7 percentage point higher than in January 2020, while the amount spent online increased by 51.1% YoY.