Convenience store coffee named biggest hit product of 2013

By Yoriko Takahashi

Nikkei Trendy, the magazine published by Nikkei Business Publications Inc, announced the biggest hit products of 2013 this week. The event has become one of the annual highlights of seeing what each year was like.

They judged products that were released or announced from October 2012 to September 2013 in a comprehensive manner based on 3 points: sales, novelty, and power of influence.

Here are the top 10 products:

1. Convenience store coffee

In 2013, many major convenience store chains began a fresh coffee business and installed coffee machines at their stores. We have a tradition of buying "canned coffee" from vending machines or convenience stores (conbini), however, as foreign cafes began being adopted by Japanese society, many people stopped buying canned coffee and started getting fresh coffee at some foreign coffee chains like Starbucks (and of course, local chains like Doutor). So, in order for convenience stores to have those customers back, they started installing self-service coffee machines and selling coffee for a very cheap price (about 100-200yen). One of the great things about this system is that people living in remote areas can even buy fresh coffee with a taste similar to that of coffee chains because usually convenience stores are located everywhere.

2. Puzzle & Dragons

Puzzle & Dragons is a Japanese mobile game developed by GungHo Online Entertainment. The game is split-screen, with a role-playing game at the top where the player gets to fight dragons and other monsters. The lower part of the screen is a puzzle game involving gems. The gem matching mode is derived from Dungeon Raid, which is similar to Bejeweled, while the battle mode is similar to the Pokemon series.

3. Increased consumption influenced by Abenomics

The economic policies referred to as "Abenomics", advocated by the current prime minister Shinzo Abe, have been raising people's hopes of an economic recovery and driving them to buy products.

4.'Hanzawa Naoki'

"Hanzawa Naoki" was a 2013 Japanese television series by Japanese broadcaster TBS. It follows the story of Naoki Hanzawa, who works for the largest bank in Japan, Tokyo Chuo Bank. He faces numerous obstacles from upper management as he climbs his way up the ranks. The show received consistently high ratings: the final episode reached 42.2% in the Kanto area (the area including the Tokyo metropolitan area), the highest figure for a drama in the modern "Heisei" Era.

5. Ise Grand Shrine and Izumo Grand Shrine

Ise Grand Shrine is located in Ise city in Mie prefecture, and Izumo Grand Shrine is located in Izumo city in Shimane prefecture. These 2 shrines are called the most powerful "Power Spots" (meaning spiritual spots) in Japan. Especially this year, they both have their important "Sengu" year that comes once every few decades (Sengu means constructing a new shrine and transferring the enshrined object from the old to the new). These are important events and huge numbers of Japanese tourists have flocked there.

6. Nexus 7 and iPad mini

Tablets are becoming an important part of life in Japan, as everywhere.

7. 'Amachan'

"Amachan" is a Japanese television drama series. It debuted on April 1, 2013, and was broadcast until September 28, 2013. It was scripted by Kankuro Kudo and starred Rena Nonen as Aki Amano, a high-school girl from Tokyo who moves to the Sanriku Coast in the Tohoku region to become a female diver. She becomes a local idol, then returns to Tokyo to try to become a real idol, and finally returns to Tohoku to help revitalize the area after the Great East Japan Earthquake. It is the 88th NHK morning drama.

8. Raycop

Raycop is a small vacuum cleaner, especially made for bed comforters and mattresses that can clean out mites or other tiny unwanted stuff. It was developed by Bukang Sems Co Ltd from Korea.

9. Nonfryer

Nonfryer is a cooking device that is able to fry food by heat and air without oil, developed by Philips from Netherlands.


GRAND FRONT OSAKA is a large shopping mall in the Umeda area in Osaka. It was opened in April 2013.

Source: AkihabaraNews

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Anything is better than canned "ko-hi-". I wish they would offer a discount if you bring your own container.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

... and still a better coffee than the trash served at $tarbuck$! Aha!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not impressed by Starbucks, wsy too expensive, do like their no smoking policy. Chesper fresh coffee at the J 7-11s??Its about time!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ahh, conbini coffee. I remember back in the day, I'd stop by 7-11 and grab the biggest cup they had, and fill it to the brim. Then load it up with fake sugar and slam it on the way to work.

That non oil fryer seems interesting.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Number 1 & 7 - great. The others? Not in my world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

puzzle & dragons. Never seen a mobile game as popular as this one. Too bad some people seem so hooked on this game that they cant turn it off while walking. sigh

0 ( +1 / -1 )


Hanzawa Naoki is a bank working for a bank?!?!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But I don't understand. I heard for years that "we Japanese" were not coffee drinkers and something like that would not work in Japan

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Got give it up for the conbini coffee. On days that I have early morning flights it is a nice thing to have on my drive to work. I no longer buy drinks at Starbucks, only whole-bean coffee (Christmas blend, yay!). As for chain coffee shops I like Tully's. Maybe it is just me but there seems to be a bit less hipsterism there than at Sutaba.

Definitely like my Amachan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hanzawa naoki was a good drama. I hope they can make season 2. He was transfered atthe end eeven if he helped the big boss.. That boss has something to hide as well!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oops, number 6, iPad! (not 7 - never heard of it)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So now the huge buying power of Japan's convenience stores, as they compete with each other, will add more pressure to the global coffee bean trade and squeeze farmers further in the global race to the bottom.

People think convenience stores are convenient for customers, but they are mainly convenient for corporations, who don't give their workers enough time to make their own lunches and brew their own coffee. It's no coincidence that the growth in the number of these stores follows Japan's embrace of neo-liberal economics.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lawson have.

spudmanNOV. 06, 2013 - 12:04PM JST Anything is better than canned "ko-hi-". I wish they would offer a discount if you bring your own container.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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