Loneliness is talked about as a social problem in Japan, but is this understanding correct?
According to the “Survey on Aloneness and Behavior 1993/2023” published by Hakuhodo Institute of Lifestyle Research at the end of last year, 56.2% of respondents said they prefer being alone, an increase of 12% compared to 30 years ago in 1993. – Increased by 8 points. It can be seen that the number of people who are choosing solitude has increased significantly for both men and women. For example, coffee shops were cited as a place people would like to go alone, up from 20% in 1993 to 53.4% in 2023, an increase of 33.4 points. More and more people are traveling alone both overseas and domestically. It doesn’t seem that there is a particularly strong aversion to group action, but it is certain that the majority of people prefer to work alone.
Considering these changes in behavior, the notion that loneliness = social problem is not necessarily correct. I think it would be better to view this as an opportunity for social change rather than a social issue. Particularly from the perspective of diversity, if collective action becomes stronger amid population decline, there is a risk that things will become more uniform than before, but if individual action becomes more widespread, it will be easier to secure diversity and lead to further development. Rather, wouldn’t it be better to create a society where people can actively enjoy solitude in order to create a society that is more comfortable for people to live in?
From a company’s perspective, the shift from collective action to individual action is a transformation of business opportunities and an opportunity to develop new products and services. Is it the use of data that is important here? It would be inconvenient to rely solely on intuition and experience when it comes to pinpointing products and services that suit each individual. Sophisticated marketing that utilizes data will be necessary. Alternatively, one business model could be to find the bare minimum functionality that everyone needs and continue to refine it as a product or service. Data utilization is also required here.
The proportion of people who prefer to be alone is expected to continue to increase. There will also be a growing movement towards a society where people can enjoy solitude. (Kei Kitajima)