About 80% of Japanese consumers are "feeling that the Japanese economy is in a slump and expecting that the current state will continue for a while or get even worse, according to a joint survey conducted by two Japanese firms.

Ergo-Brains, a company that conducts market surveys via the Internet, along with RIC, a publisher of books and magazines focused on consumer electronics, conducted the "survey on the economic climate and the purchase of consumer electronics" and received 1,500 responses. They collected responses from males and females in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s (each sex and age group represented by the same number). The survey was conducted from Oct 17 to 22, 2008.

In response to the question, "What will you cut back on if the economy gets worse," 48.1% of the respondents cited "eating out," followed by "traveling overseas" and "purchasing brand name clothing" (46.8% each). "Purchasing consumer electronics" ranked eighth of the ten answers provided in the survey.

The products that the respondents will hold back from buying if the economy goes down are single-lens reflex (SLR) digital cameras (63.1%), audio equipment (62.0%), Blu-ray Disc/DVD recorders (61.5%), IH cooking heaters (59.9%) and portable music players (59.5%).

Meanwhile, 38.4% of the respondents cited flat-panel TVs as the consumer products that they will still want to buy even if the economy goes down, and 33.6% of them mentioned PCs, which are drawing interest with low-priced models. They were followed by home appliances: refrigerators (32.1%), washing machines (31.9%), rice cookers (26.9%) and vacuum cleaners (25.5%).

In addition, Ergo-Brains and RIC asked questions about important factors for buying consumer electronics in an economic downturn. In regard to the question, "Which do you value more, 'the lowest possible price' or 'a high-priced product that has sufficient functionality and quality?'" they were chosen by almost the same number of respondents.

Furthermore, as for the functions and performance that they will place emphasis on even if the price rises, "the product's essential performance (high picture quality, cooling efficiency and cooking performance, etc)" was cited by 77.0% of them, followed by "energy saving performance" (69.7%).