Japan retailers focus on individuals for summer gift-giving

Summer is a time of gift-giving in Japan. The major department stores are already getting ready for "o-chugen." This year, they are focusing on individuals, rather than business customers.

Takashimaya has held its first-ever o-chugen food-tasting event for individuals.

A research institute says Japan's summer-gift market has been shrinking. Sales were down more than 630 million dollars over five years to under 4.4 billion dollars as of 2022.

Takashimaya says businesses used to account for nearly 90 percent of such sales.

But the retailer adds that more individuals are buying the seasonal items, and many are keeping the "gifts" for themselves.

One of male participants said he has never sent seasonal gifts to anyone before and he would rather treat himself to the exquisite items.

Daimaru Matsuzakaya has put together a catalogue of household favorites, such as curry and gyoza dumplings.