Although the GDP has been positive for three consecutive quarters, the future is uncertain due to rising prices and the 7th wave of COVID-19, which has cast a shadow over consumer sentiment.
From the interviews conducted all over the country, we can see the efforts of companies to overcome the current situation with various ingenuity.
Local festivals have been canceled one after another...
A company that handles toys in Hachioji, Tokyo mainly purchases products for festivals and sells them to street vendors and candy stores, but they are worried about the rapid spread of infection and the effects of soaring prices.
The company expected that demand for festival products would increase this year, the first summer in three years without restrictions on movement, but the rapid spread of infection led to a series of cancellations of local festivals. It is
For this reason, sales are only about 60% to 70% of the same period before the spread of infection.
Adding to the blow is the increase in the prices of the products we purchase.
Due to soaring raw material prices and the depreciation of the yen, we receive notifications from our suppliers about price increases almost every day.
There are cases where the price has been raised by 30% or more at once, and there are also products where the price has been raised many times over multiple times.
The current situation is that this company has not been able to catch up with the rapid price increase of the purchased products to the sales price.
This is because if you raise the selling price, there is a risk that fewer people will buy it.
Therefore, we are currently focusing on selling individual products in bulk.
Until now, bulk sales were also the focus for individual customers, but from this year onwards, a new corner for individual sales has been set up.
As festivals in the region are being canceled one after another, we expect that we will be able to capture new demand because it is popular with families who want to enjoy the festival atmosphere at home.
Asako Matsuda of "Yamagishi" said, "I've never had a supplier contact me about price increases so often. There are many products with low profits and high sales, and there is a limit to how much we can raise prices. I hope the coronavirus and high prices will end soon. I want you to."
Targeting individual travelers and day-trippers as group travel continues to stagnate
Nagano Prefecture's hot spring inns are facing a tough business environment by strengthening efforts targeting individual guests and day trips amid the slump in group guests due to the 7th wave of the new corona.
The ryokan, which has been in business for about 50 years at Togura Kamiyamada Onsen in Chikuma City, Nagano Prefecture, has been in the red for two consecutive years until last year due to a significant decrease in the number of group guests due to the prolongation of the new corona.
This year was the first summer vacation without movement restrictions due to the corona sickness, and I expected that the number of group guests would increase.
However, due to the influence of the "seventh wave" of infection, the number of cancellations began to increase from July, and more than half of the reservations were canceled in August. The environment is getting tougher.
Believing that the ryokan would not be able to sustain its business if it continued to rely on groups of guests, he decided to use government subsidies to create new private baths that could be rented out in private rooms, in an attempt to attract individuals and families on a day trip. We have prepared an environment where you can enjoy the hot springs flowing directly from the source while avoiding the hot springs.
In addition, we have devised a special summer-only plan where you can enjoy a set of guest rooms, hot springs, and dishes using local ingredients on a day trip, and make it possible to apply the "prefectural discount", which includes discounts on travel fees, etc., to acquire new customers. is working on
Part of the large banquet hall has also been converted into a restaurant, where meals are served buffet style.
Due to a series of staff turnovers due to the corona crisis, there is a continuing shortage of workers, but through these efforts, we are devising ways to operate efficiently without lowering customer satisfaction.
Hiroaki Takemoto, president of Hotel Enzanso, said, "It's difficult to increase the number of customers, but we have the advantage of hot springs. Continuing our business while taking on new challenges is the corona crisis. I think it's a way of giving back to the people who helped me," he said.
Shifting away from “explosive shopping” demand
A manufacturer of non-woven fabrics in Kochi Prefecture is trying to enter a new field by making use of the technology it has cultivated so far, while sales of its mainstay cosmetics are declining due to the impact of the new corona.
A non-woven fabric processing manufacturer in Tosa City receives orders from major cosmetics companies and manufactures cosmetic packs, etc., and this product accounted for about 60% of the total sales.
However, due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection, the demand for so-called "explosive shopping", in which foreigners purchase a large amount of products in Japan, has disappeared, and the spread of teleworking has led to a drop in demand for cosmetics. decreased by about 10%.
Therefore, this company quickly took notice of the camping boom that spread due to the corona disaster, and developed a kitchen paper exclusively for outdoor use using non-woven fabric technology.
It is stronger than regular paper towels and does not dissolve when wet.
About 10,000 units have been shipped so far, and they are steadily expanding their sales channels, such as being sold at campsites operated by outdoor equipment manufacturers.
Tatsuya Shioda, sales manager of Sansho Shigyo, said, "With the times changing so rapidly, we cannot survive unless we come up with new proposals. We want to make camping equipment a new pillar of our business." I was.