New technologies popular in Japan

13 December 2012
TOKYO: Smartphones, social networks and robotic vacuum cleaners are among the "hit products" which commanded the most attention from shoppers in Japan this year.

Dentsu, the advertising holding group, asked 1,000 internet users in the 20–69 year old demographic if they were aware of, interested in and had heard buzz about 55 different goods and services.

Smartphones took top spot on the list, as in each of the last two years. Morgan Stanley, the investment bank, has estimated that 65% of the country's mobile subscribers now utilise these devices.

The Tokyo Skytree, a broadcasting and observation tower, claimed second position, improving on third spot in the 2011 poll. Coming in at over 630m in height, it is one of the world's tallest structures.

In demonstration of its popularity, a total of 27.9m people had visited the Skytree between its opening in May and its sixth month anniversary in November, well ahead of initial forecasts.

Social networks requiring that members register with their real names rather than a pseudonym occupied third place, compared with 27th in 2011.

In reflection of this, Facebook reported in September that it boasted 15m active monthly users in Japan, putting it in front of Mixi, a local platform, on 14.5m.

Robotic cleaning devices were in fourth, climbing from 21st in the last research round, apparently confirming Japanese shoppers' long-held reputation for being early adopters of new technology.

Sharp, the electronics firm, has have rolled out one such product. Its Cocorobo appliance hit the market in June, and the company anticipates that it will yield some ¥7bn in sales during the fiscal year ending March 2013.

Also featuring in the top 20 were salted rice malt, a popular seasoning for food, and packaged instant fresh noodles, alongside non-alcoholic beer and eco-friendly cars.

Collaborative product promotions which cut across different industry sectors took the final place among the consumers interviewed, Dentsu's analysis revealed.

Sony, the electronics and entertainment conglomerate, is one operator that has attempted to make increased use of this strategy in a bid to integrate communications in such a fashion.

Data sourced from Dentsu; additional content by Warc staff
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