Sotaro KATSUMATA, Associate Professor, Business and Management Program, Graduate School of Economics

Sotaro KATSUMATA, Associate Professor, Business and Management Program, Graduate School of Economics

Associate Professor Sotaro KATSUMATA uses big data in marketing to mathematically analyze consumption behavior in his research. "I want to show companies the path that they should take for continuous growth by mathematically comprehending how consumers select products," he told us.

But consumer behavior when selecting products is complicated.

"When it comes to design, for household products, familiarity inducing consumers to buy them is desirable, but for durable goods like furniture, taste and impression count. So a 'good design' changes depending on the characteristics of the product," he told us, showing us that the clarification of product selection behavior requires approaches from many different angles. Associate Professor Katsumata is asked by companies for his advice based on this clarified consumer behavior, for which he has received many awards from major marketing firms.

Understanding consumption behavior requires a steady mathematical approach. "People's behavior gives the impression that it is impossible to replicate and that it has nothing to do with mathematics. Big data from actual purchase histories on multiple point cards just looks like a bunch of random numbers. But there is a mathematical model hidden in those numbers. I want to solve this and bring people's consumption behavior to light," said a passionate Prof. Katsumata. He added something surprising: "I never liked mathematics as a student, but as I got into economics at university, I began to understand how to use it as a weapon. Now I love math." Prof. Katsumata also sent an encouraging message to high school students, saying, "I especially want those of you who dislike math to enter the School of Economics. Let's solve consumption behavior together."

"My hobby is also research," said Prof. Katsumata, but he also cooks and spends time with his family while at home. "I first analyze a range of recipe websites before I start cooking," he said with a big smile. It seems like he can use his knack for big data analysis here, too.


Associate Professor Sotaro KATSUMATA graduated from the College of Planning and Policy Sciences, University of Tsukuba in 2005, and he received his doctorate in economics from the Graduate School of Economics, The University of Tokyo in 20 1 1. After working in an information service company and as an assistant professor and associate professor at Nagasaki University, he became an associate professor at the Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University in 2015. He has won various awards, such as the Operations Research Society of Japan Award, the Yoshida Hideo Award, and Grand Prize at the Nomura Research Institute Marketing Analysis Contest.

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