Japan’s Top Products of 2009

January 6, 2010 at 4:40 pm Leave a comment

Cheap and eco-friendly. That’s how I’d describe most of Japan’s ‘hit products’ for 2009.

Japanese advertising agency Dentsu surveys consumers every year and this is what was abuzz this year:

1. Hybrid vehicles
2. Flu masks
3. Low-priced domestic fashions
4. Vehicles eligible for tax reductions and eco-vehicle purchasing subsidies
5. Eco-point energy-saving home appliances
6. ETC (electronic toll collection) system
7. Digital broadcasting-equipped widescreen flat-panel TVs
8. Electric vehicles
9. Private brand products
10. B-grade products

Of course, buying a new car was heavy on people’s minds in 2009. Back in June, the Japanese government started a ‘cash for clunkers’ program where consumers could receive $2,800 if they turn an old car (at least 13-years old) in for a new one. And if they chose an electric, hybrid or natural-gas car then they wouldn’t have to pay for weight and purchase taxes – a $1,000 savings!

And we all know why flu masks were big this year. When I visited Japan in May, I ended up buying a dozen of them because I was sick and everyone assumed I carried deadly diseases by default of being American. Luckily, there’s some really cool ‘ninja’ masks out there.

‘ETC card’ was the buzzword of the summer when people hit the road for their family vacation. Japanese highways are riddled with toll roads, so when they started issuing the ‘all-you-can-drive for $10’ pass, people made a mad rush for them. Makes me glad California roads are free.

And when we’re trying to cut costs, there’s always private-brand products, aka, store brands (i.e., Archer Farms at Target, O Organics at Safeway chains). They’re reasonable in price and quality, but they’re hardly advertized so few people know about them. Yet, this year, they were flying off the shelves.

Looking back, it’s been another year to keep your wallet locked in a safety deposit box. Next year, I want to see cooler things on the list like ‘robot butler’ and ‘invisible jet.’ Come on, Japan! \(^_^)/


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