Understanding mechanism of consumer behavior by analyzing sales performance data


Ryosuke Igari, Associate Professor

Department of Business Strategy, Faculty of Business Administration
Posted Aug.30,2022

Faculty Profile

Associate Professor Ryosuke Igari is working on marketing science that analyzes data and predicts consumer behavior. He is very enthusiastic about building up a body of practical wisdom useful on the front lines of business.

Analyzing consumers’ purchasing behavior from data collected by companies

Statistics and marketing science are among my areas of expertise.

Marketing science is a research field that ascertains customer needs, forecasts market trends and engages in other marketing activities through scientific approaches such as data analysis.

More specifically, researchers in this field analyze consumer behavior on the basis of sales performance data and behavioral history data collected by companies, develop models that predict when customers will purchase products, and scientifically elucidate the effectiveness of advertising.

The popularization of the Internet has diversified consumer purchasing behavior. While purchases can be broadly divided between those made at stores and those made online, the consumers’ purchase behaviors in these two channels are not distinctly separate. These purchases in two channels are increasingly used in combination, with customers reviewing product information in online and then making in-store purchases or checking out a product at a store and then comparing prices in online before making a purchase. Researchers also take this environment into consideration when analyzing purchasing behavior.

Because we scientifically analyze collected data, our research somewhat resembles data science, another field that has been attracting attention in recent years. Data science demands high prediction accuracy, however, while marketing science emphasizes understanding underlying mechanisms and finding factors and causes.

If sales of a product increase sharply, for example, there is likely more than one possible cause. The number of consumers switching to this product from competing products may have increased, or consumer loyalty to the product may have risen. By analyzing the data in a composite fashion, we can probe the factors and consumer behavior mechanisms that have produced this outcome.

The principal style of research being pursued at present is providing analysis results as feedback to the companies from which the data was received, and in future we hope to improve the quality of our research and be of assistance in considering marketing measures by verifying on the ground the outcomes predicted by our analysis.

A photo from my visit to Chicago (US) as a doctoral student; this first opportunity to interact with overseas researchers proved quite stimulating

I want to enhance the quality of my research in cooperation with many others

I have been teaching at the Faculty of Business Administration since 2018.

The field of business administration often involves research directly tied to actual business operations, and adding statistical and data science methods to this research enables a more practical approach. I joined the Faculty thinking that such research would be useful in fostering the "practical wisdom" that Hosei University advocates in its Charter.

Hosei University’s Faculty of Business Administration boasts many researchers with excellent track records in marketing research, and I draw great inspiration from them.

The analysis data I use in my research is often provided by companies, so collaborating with companies is indispensable. I am very grateful for our university's research environment, which encourages and supports connections outside the university such as joint research with companies.

Marketing science is a discipline that requires interdisciplinary knowledge. Knowledge of psychology is essential for analyzing consumers’ behavior and for understanding the intangible conscious mind. In addition, we need economics to understand the market and informatics to efficiently process data.

Hosei University as a comprehensive university has expert researchers with such knowledge so, if given the opportunity, I would very much like to collaborate with them in joint research.

In 2019 I invited a former company colleague of mine as a guest speaker to give a lecture on advertising effectiveness, and the class was one of great interest to students

I want students to acquire applied skills as working knowledge

Marketing science makes use of statistics and thus can be regarded as a discipline close to information science, which is classified as a STEM discipline. Accordingly, it is important to cultivate not only your intuition but also your ability to think logically and to find evidence to support your analysis results. The ability to apply high-quality data analysis to on-the-ground business operations is also required.

By encouraging students to engage in group work so they can envision real-world business situations and participate in business contests outside the university, we are helping them improve their ability to collaborate in research and to make presentations.

The course content that can be learned at our university, especially that available from the Faculty of Business Administration, will all prove useful when graduates go out into the workforce, so I hope to see them absorb as much knowledge as possible through their classes. It is only while they are university students that they will be able to spend as much time as they like learning. They really should make use of the free time they have now to acquire the “practical wisdom” they will need to tackle and solve problems by themselves.

A group photo with seminar students in 2022; we watched over student-centered activities so that the students could develop the ability to solve problems by themselves

Ryosuke Igari, Associate Professor

Department of Business Strategy, Faculty of Business Administration

Born in August 1985, he graduated from the Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University, completed the master's program in the Graduate School of Economics, Nagoya University, and completed the doctoral program in the Graduate School of Economics, Keio University. After joining Video Research Ltd. and then later working as a research fellow (DC1) at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, a part-time lecturer at the School of Human Sciences, Senshu University, and a part-time lecturer at the Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, he became a full-time lecturer at the Department of Business Strategy, Faculty of Business Administration, Hosei University in 2018. He has held his current position since 2020. He is also a visiting researcher at the RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project (AIP).