Business & Economy Science & Technology Education & Society Sports & Fashion Arts & Entertainment
Top Picks Back Numbers Search

New Complexes Target Older Consumers

June 13, 2000

Shibuya Mark City, in Tokyo's bustling youth district.

In recent years, a succession of new shopping complexes have been opening in Tokyo and other large metropolitan areas throughout Japan, all of which are focusing their efforts on luring adult consumers. One such enterprise is Shibuya Mark City, which opened for business in early April 2000 in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.

A New Era in Shopping?
Shibuya, true to its image of being a haven for young women, is filled with females in their late teens and early twenties swaggering about the streets in their thick-soled boots, dark tanned skin, and bright lipstick, clearly masters of their domain. The area has likewise been called a Mecca for high-school girls.

Shibuya Mark City hopes to usher in a new era by targeting a slightly older range of consumers than is commonly found in Shibuya--women aged 25 to 35. The building complex comprises a large 25-story hotel along with a 23-floor office tower containing 5 floors of parking, and boasts a total floor space of 140,000 square meters (34.6 acres). From the first basement level to the fourth floor is a commerce zone offering 55 restaurants and retail outlets. The complex touts itself as a "real facility where adults can come together."

Though there are few strikingly novel shops, items for sale at the outlets target young female consumers and include conservative but fashionable business suits, high-quality wrist watches, and foreign-brand cosmetics. A 400-meter (437-yard) promenade styled in the image of a downtown street runs through the building's fourth floor. Customer traffic to the complex so far has been plentiful, thanks to its convenient location and a railway station situated in the building.

Bucking Tradition
Previous shopping complexes in Shibuya and other parts of Japan were built with a younger clientele in mind, resulting in a glut of similar stores and products and relatively low spending by customers. This focus on young buyers has also resulted in keeping away adult women and families on shopping excursions--two important consumer groups with the desire to spend. In response, a trend toward building shopping facilities catering to this older clientele has begun to emerge. Venus Fort, which opened in 1999 on Tokyo's waterfront district, is styled in the image of a medieval Southern European city, and its unique atmosphere is an effective customer lure. Platz Kintetsu, located in front of Kyoto Station, opened its doors for business in March 2000 and offers Japan's largest single-floor book store and a number of other large-scale specialty retail outlets, as well as a "super brand museum," which features a collection of over 100 brands.

Other shopping centers are striving desperately to distinguish themselves from their competitors by enlisting the aid of influential retailers to add original flavor to their product ranges, upgrading facilities for children, and bringing in famous foreign restaurants.

Up to now, previous attempts in Shibuya to develop shopping facilities aimed at adults have met with one setback after another, which is one more reason why many will be watching in anticipation to see whether Shibuya Mark City succeeds.

Trends in JapanCopyright (c) 2000 Japan Information Network. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.