Advertising giant Dentsu Inc has released its “2014 Hit Products in Japan” report. Produced as part of a series that has been chronicling hit products since 1985, the latest report examines major trends that represented the consumer mindset in 2014. It is based on an Internet survey of Japanese consumers carried out in November 2014 by Dentsu Macromill Insight, Inc.
Although 2014 was a year in which Japan and the Japanese people themselves regained confidence as a result of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Abenomics policies to stimulate the Japanese economy, it was a “year of ambivalence” in which an awareness of the need to economize fueled by the consumption tax increase in April intersected with aggressive consumption, the report said.
According to a close analysis of the rankings made by the Dentsu Innovation Institute, the fact that there is a lot of bright, cheerful content such as the movie Frozen, talking mascot characters such as Funassyi, the Yo-kai Watch games, manga and toys, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Halloween costumes in the top-ranked products shows that although people do not want to return to the gloomy deflation era and yet still do not have the courage to move forward with confidence, there are cheerful, comfortable feelings propping them up.
Although growth is stagnant, the strength of the Japanese economy, Japan’s participation in overseas events such as the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, the Japanese Nobel laureates who invented blue LEDs, global recognition of the Tomioka Silk Mill as a world cultural heritage by UNESCO, and the ongoing development in Japan of electric vehicles (including fuel cell-powered vehicles) and jet aircraft have enhanced the country’s profile both at home and abroad.
In addition, lightweight wearable terminals and other futuristic technology applications are appearing one after another, and are making inroads into our lifestyles. 3D printers and public Wi-Fi are technologies that are closely related with our daily lives, and will boost expectations toward lifestyle innovations.
The following top 20 products (which include some popular content and social phenomena) were selected from 130 popular items and services by 1,200 Internet survey respondents aged between 20 and 69. The figures in parentheses are last year’s rankings. Previously unranked products are indicated with (–).
2014 Hit Products No. 1: "Frozen" (Walt Disney animated movie) (–) No. 2: Talking mascot characters (10*) No. 3: Tokyo Skytree (1) No. 4: Free voice call apps (such as LINE) (13) No. 5: Yo-kai Watch (games, manga and toys) (–) No. 6: Smartphones (3) No. 7: SNSs such as Facebook that require real name registration (24) No. 8: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ (Universal Studios Japan) (–) No. 9: Convenience store freshly brewed coffee (7) No. 10: Robot cleaners (4) No. 11: NHK television morning drama series (–) No. 12: Sochi Winter Olympic Games (–) No. 13: Hybrid cars (2) No. 14: Japanese Nobel laureates (for blue LEDs) (–) No. 15: Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) (Japanese anime movie) (22) No. 16: Halloween costumes (60) No. 17: Tablet devices (35) No. 18: Tomioka Silk Mill (–) No. 19: Premium beer (–) No. 20: Compact cars/K-cars (engine displacement up to 660 cc) (16)
*Last year “local mascot characters” came in at No. 10.
This year, a “2015 Expected Hit Products” list was compiled using the products selected for the “It has been popular this year/It is popular now” category as a base and then focusing on those selected for the “It will become popular” category.
2015 Expected Hit Products No. 1: Electric vehicles (including fuel cell-powered vehicles) No. 2: 3D printers No. 3: Low-priced smartphones No. 4: Jet aircraft manufactured in Japan No. 5: 4K television sets No. 6: Thinking about how to lead your life in your later years and preparations for the end of your life No. 7: Smartwatches No. 8: Car sharing No. 9: Public Wi-Fi No. 10: Wearable cameras© Business Wire