04 August 2010

Thriving cycling market

Shrinking Leisure Market Deals Blow To Tourism, But Cycling, Hiking and Camping Thrive

TOKYO (Nikkei)--There seems to be no relief to the contracting domestic leisure-related market. Growing consumer frugality and the flu outbreak sapped people's thirst for outings, but environmental awareness and health consciousness nurtured people's interest in cycling, hiking and camping, a recent report shows.

Some segments posted a positive growth from a year earlier. The sports bicycle market jumped 21.8% to 190 billion yen. Hiking and camping gear also rose 8.1% to 161 billion yen. Behind the boost in these two segments was burgeoning demand among women who like to enjoy outdoor activities in style.

As to popular leisure activities, pleasure driving topped the list for the first time, a 31.1% jump year on year, thanks to cuts in highway tolls. Dining out, which had long stayed at first place till 2008, slid back to third, down 13.6%, as consumers tightened their pursue strings.

Also gaining ground were casual leisure activities, such as visiting zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums and museums, and going on picnics, cycling, hiking and taking walks. Jogging also remained popular.

Buzzwords of the year, such as "environment," "fashion" and "reasonable" are believed to be behind the growing popularity of these casual leisure activities.

Adapted from a Nikkei Business Daily article translated by Nikkei staff writer Tomoko Wakasugi

(The Nikkei Business Daily Aug. 3 edition)

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