Model Case

Market research on trends in the packaging and packing materials industry in Japan – Model Case

In some cases, you may need to conduct market research as a preliminary step before attempting to enter the Japanese market. Or even if you are not planning to enter the Japanese market, you may want to know the current trends in your industry in Japan.

This article provides a model case of how we would approach such a request, a market research project of your industry in Japan.

We work with overseas companies who are trying or planning to enter into the Japanese market. If you need to conduct market research or don’t know where to start the Japanese market entry, feel free to contact us for any inquiries.


Our client wanted to conduct market research in the Japanese packaging and packing materials industry for reference in their product development and for the purpose of planning their entry into the Japanese market.

They particularly wanted to know the following two points.

  • What is the progress of the de-plasticization trend, and what is each company’s policy on de-plasticization?
  • How are companies responding to the increase in small-lot deliveries and high-frequency deliveries?


Although it is not impossible to gather information from online sources or from books published in general, especially for a market research project like this that includes qualitative information, we thought that the most concrete and effective way to gather primary information was to listen to the voices of business people actually working in the industry, either through interviews or written questionnaires.

In a market research project, there are two possible methods: one is to conduct an interview-style survey of a relatively small number of companies (persons) to be surveyed, and the other is to conduct a written questionnaire survey of a large number of companies (persons) to be surveyed.

In this case, the objective was to understand major trends in the industry, so the interview survey was targeted at listed companies and companies of similar size that are expected to lead the industry. (Note, of course, that in some market research projects, such as those targeting distributors and retailers, it may be useful to collect responses from a large number of survey targets using a written questionnaire.)

What we have actually done in this market research project

#1 Coordinate the question contents

In an interview survey like this case, it is most important to prepare questions that can elicit the information our client wants to obtain, so the questions were carefully discussed in advance of the interview.

In addition, in order to obtain higher resolution answers, the interviewers in our team also gathered information on the industry background and trends in the industry in advance of the interview.

#2 List up target companies

As mentioned earlier, in this case, the target of the research was a listed company or a major company in the industry with a business scale comparable to that of a listed company. Therefore, our clients were able to gather information on these companies in English, and they themselves were able to develop a list of companies they wished to interview.

On the other hand, companies of which it was difficult to collect information in languages other than Japanese (e.g., unlisted companies with the highest market share in each region), we made our own list to ensure that there were no omissions.

#3 Conduct the interviews

The interviews were conducted as web interviews based on prepared questions. Our team moderated the interviews. In conducting the interviews, we were always careful to ensure that we were getting the answers to the questions that our clients had.

In Japan, few businesspeople, even those from large corporations, are able to respond to interviews in English, and most of interviews like this case are conducted in Japanese.

#4 Analysis of the survey results and reference to supplementary materials

The responses obtained through the interviews were tabulated and a report was prepared in a form that our clients could easily refer to. We also referred to additional material, where available, for any new facts that were discovered during the interviews or that needed to be corroborated, and we endeavored to ensure that only clear facts were presented in the report.

#5 Proposals for our clients to enter the Japanese market

In this case, we also provided consulting services on how our client should enter the Japanese market, based on the industry trends in Japan that we identified through the interviews.

After listening to the voices of Japanese businesspeople actually working in the industry, we developed an optimal market entry strategy in light of our client’s strengths and management resources.


  • Market research often plays an important role both in the preparatory stage of entering the Japanese market and as reference information for your own product development.
  • While it is meaningful to simply gather information from publications and online, it is very important to hear from business people who are actually working in the Japanese market through interviews and surveys.
  • Our market research projects are not limited to market research on behalf of our clients, but also include proposals for the next direction our clients should take based on the results of the research.

We provide marketing services to overseas companies seeking to enter the Japanese market. If you are considering conducting market research in Japan as a preliminary step in a marketing project, please feel free to contact us.