Smartphones score in Japan

29 November 2010

TOKYO: Smartphones, Twitter and "munchable chilli oil" are the products and services that generated the most buzz among Japanese consumers this year.

Dentsu, the advertising holding company, interviewed 1,000 adults to identify which brands secured the greatest levels of recognition, interest and popularity.

It then assessed the online word of mouth delivered by the nominated offerings, combining these findings with the survey results.

Smartphones took top spot, some 33 positions higher than last year, as gadgets like the iPhone started to make a mark in Japan.

Twitter, the microblogging portal, claimed second, compared with 104th place during the same poll from 2009.

Edible chilli oil, such as Taberu Ra-yu, was a new entry in third - reflecting a recent food fad.

Widescreen flat-panel TVs equipped with digital receivers came in fourth, beating Ryoma Samaoto, a popular historical figure and subject of hit TV drama series "The Legend of Ryoma".

The introduction of international flights at Haneda Airport and the Tokyo Sky Tree, a broadcasting tower to be finished in early 2012, occupied sixth and seventh respectively.

Energy-saving home appliances receiving "eco-points" from the government as part of a stimulus programme, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and LED Light Bulbs completed the top ten.

Further featured items included "B-grade", inexpensive gourmet food eaten in a casual environment, rather than the more costly and traditional "A-Grade" equivalent.

Domestic "fast fashion" brands were 13th, with their foreign counterparts in 17th, an indication of changing spending habits in the downturn.

While locally-manufactured apparel in this segment slipped from third in the 2009 study, non-indigenous alternatives climbed by nearly 50 positions.

Films, TV sets, cameras and other goods boasting 3D capabilities were in 15th, one place ahead of hybrid vehicles, which headed the 2009 rankings.

Tablets such as Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy also stood inside the top 20, and made the top ten predicted leading products for 2011.

Members of this cohort not mentioned in the top 20 from 2010 included electric cars, e-book readers and discount airline tickets.

Elsewhere, home solar power systems and clean energy appliances for everyday residences featured in this list.

Compact data communication devices and cloud computing were similarly tipped to make an impact over the next 12 months and beyond.

In the electronics category, bladeless electric fans are anticipated to achieve success.

In the food and beverage sector, bread and sweets made with rice powder and alcohol-free beer-like beverages, as pioneered by Asahi, held considerable appeal.

Group purchasing coupons, which have already forged a presence in the US through companies such as Groupon, could also influence consumer behaviour.

Data sourced from Dentsu; additional content by Warc staff