Nomura Research Note Links Japan's Working Women With Shopping

(Bloomberg) -- In one of Tokyo-based Nomura Holdings Inc.’s latest research notes, an economist and two analysts -- all men -- turned their attention to the subject of women in Japan.

Here’s what they concluded: Having more women in the workforce will lead to more online shopping.

Women with jobs “spend less time on housework and shopping,” they say. Then came this:

“We see this as an indication that working women lead quite busy lives.”

And survey results, they say, “indicate that consumers save 30 minutes to an hour each time they choose to shop online.”

Japan, with the world’s oldest population, one of the lowest birth rates and a worsening labor shortage, has struggled to keep women in the workforce and have them take on more leadership roles. While the number of working women has increased under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his 2013 pledge to have women hold 30 percent of supervisory positions in all fields by the end of the decade has had less success.

Women accounted for about 10 percent of private-sector managers in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, compared with 7.9 percent in 2012.

Stock Recommendations

Almost inevitably, Nomura’s findings were accompanied by stock recommendations. Buy Marui Group Co., Start Today Co. and Askul Corp., said the report published Tuesday. Askul’s online drugstore business, for example, “makes working women’s lives easier and has achieved sustained steep growth in sales.”

Convenience stores, the writers say, are an “extremely valuable resource” for working women. They “are usually close at hand and require little expenditure of time.”

“We therefore are closely following convenience stores,” they wrote.

This analysis doesn’t stem from an association between women and shopping, Nomura economist Yoshiyuki Suimon -- who co-authored the report -- said by phone. The research is based on data that revealed how working women spend their time, noting multiple charts that he and his colleagues used to back up their analysis in the 18-page note.

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