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Market analytics of the rice wine market in Japan: an exploratory study

Martin Kunc (University of Southampton, Southampton, UK)

International Journal of Wine Business Research

ISSN: 1751-1062

Article publication date: 16 August 2019

Issue publication date: 19 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to analyse consumer buying behaviour in the Japanese rice wine, also known as sake market.


The study applies a novel qualitative and quantitative analytical methodology to an off-license channel in Japan. The methodology involves the use of anchoring-and-adjustment theory and simulation to a large set of point of sale data. The selection of the brands used for the study are more than 230 brands and more than 150 sake breweries.


Age and gender are important factors determining recurrent patterns of purchasing behaviour. Small size packaging, e.g. one cup, has the highest volume in sales, for example, convenience shopping, but it depends on exogenous factors, e.g. summer season or festive events.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations are related with the lack of specific personal data from consumers that impedes to test behavioural attitudes driving loyalty to brands. Anchoring-and-adjustment theory can be a valid approach to evaluate large longitudinal data sets of purchasing behaviour.

Practical implications

Results indicate that fragmented markets tend to over-expand the assortment affecting volume stability. However, this dynamics is difficult to avoid when all participants are engaged in this behaviour and the market is strongly segmented by age and gender.


The paper contributes to the body of knowledge of buyer behaviour in relation to purchasing and consumption for other types of wine. It is the first application in alcoholic beverages of anchor-and-adjustment theory.



This research was funded by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science under Long-Term International Fellowship (L-18506). I greatly appreciate the hosting of the research fellowship to Professor Makoto Kimura, Nagano University, and his support during this time.


Kunc, M. (2019), "Market analytics of the rice wine market in Japan: an exploratory study", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 473-491.



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