Consumer Survey Ranks the Most Overpriced Products in Japan


As a shopper in Japan, what do you think are the worst deals on the market?

Tokyo recently lost to Singapore in the rankings for the world’s most expensive city, but costs of living in Japan are still among the world’s highest, prompting more citizens to tighten their belts following the recent tax hike.

Now that consumption tax has jumped by 3 percentage points, many Japanese households are starting to trim down their shopping lists, starting off with products they consider too pricey, from luxury goods to movie tickets and even pizza.

The Japanese news site Ameba took a recent public opinion poll of 570 working Japanese regarding their perception of the general fairness of prices. Of those who responded to the survey, 237 respondents (a little over 40 percent) felt that the prices of some products sold in Japan are generally out of step with their value. The remaining 333 respondents believed that prices were generally fair.

Respondents who said that prices weren’t fair were asked to provide examples of items that they thought were the most overpriced. Coming in, tied at 3rd place, were cosmetics, mobile phone fees and movie tickets, with 6 votes each.

Consumers said makeup is pricey everywhere in the world—especially organic products—but it’s much cheaper abroad than it is in Japan. Any movie fan in any city on the planet will tell you that ticket prices have been steadily on the rise, but prices for cinemas here can hit ¥2,000 per person. Rounding out the third place were mobile fees. Japanese mobile fees are among the highest in the world, but they are seen as an “expensive necessity.”

It’s not a surprise to see designer goods coming in second on the rankings, with 25 votes—designer goods are designed to be expensive.

And what’s topping the list of Japan’s most overpriced products, you ask? Delivery Pizza. While it can be really cheap in most countries, it can set you back at least 3,200 yen in Japan.

Japan’s Most Overpriced Products

1. Delivery Pizza

2. Designer Goods

3. Makeup/Movie Tickets/Mobile Phone Fees

Other items that didn’t make the list but did come up in individual comments were products such as macaroons, tonkatsu, and gasoline.

Image: “Empty Wallet” by NoHoDamon/Flickr