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Home > Statistics > Retail Price Survey >Retail Price Survey (Structural Survey) >Outline of the Retail Price Survey (Structural Survey)

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Outline of the Retail Price Survey (Structural Survey) (as of September 2017)

1. Purpose of the Survey

The purpose of the Retail Price Survey is to clarify the monthly trend of prices and the price structure by region and establishment type on the nation-wide information on the retail prices of goods and fees for services that are important in consumer life. And the survey has been conducted as "Fundamental Statistics Survey" in accordance with the provisions of the Statistics Act.

The survey consists of two parts: the "Trend Survey" that aims to clarify the monthly trend of prices, and the "Structural Survey" that aims to clarify the price structure by region and store type. And the "Structural Survey" consists of three types of survey by its purpose: (1) a survey on price differences between regions; (2) a survey on prices by store type; and (3) a survey on prices by specification.


2. History of the Survey

The price structure had been grasped by the National Survey of Prices conducted once every five years. However, as changes in the consumption and distribution structure had accelerated, it became difficult to understand the changes in the price structure accurately by conducting a statistical survey on a 5-year cycle. A survey to annually check the price differences between regions and prices by store type and specification, which had been conducted in the National Survey of Prices, was added to the Retail Price Survey as "Structural Survey". The survey has been conducted since January 2013.

With the introduction of the "Structural Survey", the existing survey is called "Trend Survey", and the National Survey of Prices was ended after the last survey in 2007.

In 2016, we have changed the survey items for the first time as an effort toward the promotion of utilizing the results of the Survey and the improvement of the accuracy of the results. From now on, we are going to conduct the Survey timely and appropriately by reconsidering the Survey items every year.


3. Survey organization

The survey is conducted through the following channel.

Survey organization


"Supervisors", who are prefectural officials, supervise the field work of enumerators and take charge of collecting the prices of certain items. In total, approximately 130 supervisors are appointed for "Structural Survey".

"Enumerators", who are appointed in each sample city, town and village by the prefectural governors. They have charge of survey. In total, approximately 140 enumerators are appointed for "Structural Survey".


4. Sample cities of survey

The survey covers 135 cities in total as follows:

Type of survey Sample cities of survey
Survey on price differences between regions 88 non-capital cities in the country (PDF:100KB) which are not covered by "Trend Survey"
Survey on prices by store type 46 prefectural capitals (excluding the Tokyo Special-wards Area)
Survey on prices by specification Tokyo Special-wards Area

5. Selection of survey stores

The entire areas of cities surveyed are designated as price survey areas. A predetermined number of stores are selected for each survey area in order of the sales amount by survey item (if it is difficult to select them by sales amount, in order of management scale based on the number of employees, sales floor space, etc.) and are designated as survey stores. The survey stores are approximately 3,000 stores in total.

Type of survey Selection of survey stores
Survey on price differences between regions A predetermined number of stores are selected as representative stores that mainly aimed at supermarkets
Survey on prices by store type A predetermined number of stores are selected as representative stores by store types
Survey on prices by specification A predetermined number of stores are selected as representative stores among the retail stores (establishments) that are specified in "Trend Survey"

6. Survey Items and Specifications

The name or type of surveyed goods is called "Survey Item" or "Item". Attributes of surveyed goods that are specified for each item are called "Survey Specification" or "Specification".

Type of survey Survey Items and Specifications
Survey on price differences between regions The survey aims to grasp price differences between regions, such as prefectures. 56 items (58 specifications) that are expected to show price differences between regions and account for a large percentage of the household consumption expenditure, such as "Non-glutinous rice", "Food wrap", and "Toilet soap", are surveyed.
Survey on prices by store type The survey aims to grasp prices by store type, such as supermarkets and conventional retail outlets. 9 items (9 specifications) whose prices can also be collected in stores other than supermarkets, such as "Non-glutinous rice" and "Facial tissue", are surveyed.
Survey on prices by specification The survey aims to grasp prices by specifications which are not subject to the Trend Survey. 9 items (9 specifications), such as "Portable digital audio player" which has specifications that are likely to be subject to the survey, and "Yogurt" which has specifications sold in different forms, such as bundle sale, are surveyed.

7. Survey Items

Survey items are classified into two categories as follows:

Survey item category Criteria for items Examples of items that apply
(a) Items that consumers purchase mainly in their neighborhood, and that are subject to the Structural Survey Food, household consumables, etc.
(b) Items that consumers purchase mainly in representative commercial districts or large-scale stores in each municipality, and that are subject to the Structural Survey Hair dressing and beauty products, etc.

Survey Items and Specifications (EXCEL: 47 KB)


8. Number of Prices Collected

For each survey item and specification, the number of prices to be collected is defined in each type of survey, item category and population size of cities.

Type of survey Survey item category Population size of cities Number of prices collected
Survey on price differences between regions Item (a) Cities with a population of 150,000 or more 4
Cities with a population of less than 150,000 2
Item (b) Cities with a population of 150,000 or more 3
Cities with a population of less than 150,000 1
Survey on prices by store type Item (a) - 4
Item (b) - 3
Survey on prices by specification Item (a) - 4
Item (b) - 3

9. Survey Dates

The survey on price differences between regions is conducted on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of the week that contains the 12th day of each odd month.

The survey on prices by store type is conducted on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of the week that contains the 12th day of each even month.

The survey on prices by specification is conducted on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of the week that contains the 12th day of each even month.


10. Survey Method

Before conducting the survey, enumerators have received, from the Statistics Bureau, various up-to-date information needed for the survey to be conducted in the month, such as survey items and specifications information, via their terminals.

Enumerators visit the stores to be surveyed in the area in their charge to collect data such as retail prices of the survey items by interviews with the reporters of each store, and enter the data into their terminals. After they finish entering all the data including prices in the area in their charge, they send the collected data to the Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on an appointed day.

All data sent will be reviewed by the Statistics Bureau and prefectures.


11. Prices Surveyed

In principle, prices to be collected for the survey are normal retail prices for products sold to consumers at the stores surveyed. In terms of the purpose of the survey that aims to check the representative price of each item, bargain basement prices offered in a short period time (less than eight days) and for an inventory-clearance sale are not collected.


12. Publication of Survey Results

The survey results are compiled by the Statistics Bureau, and are released in principle by June in the year following the survey year.

The results are published by Internet, the reports of "Annual Report on the Retail Price Survey (Structural Survey)", etc.


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