Product size is often one of the first things international food brands have to adjust when entering the Japanese market. Not only is the average Japanese home too small to store western-sized jumbo packages, Japanese eating habits are typically different from their overseas counterparts.
But it's not just foreign firms that learn optimizing package size can lead to more sales.
A couple of months ago Japanese condiments giant Kewpie reduced the volume of its salad dressings from 200 to 170 milliliters--and was surprised to see a 5% increase in order volume versus the same period last year.
According to a Nikkei article, the company attributes the bounce to the fact that the package better suits current Japanese demographics. With household sizes shrinking, too many people were consistently throwing out bottles whose "best by" date arrived before the product could be entirely consumed. Plus, many more kinds dressings are available at supermarkets these days so consumers have a larger variety at home, resulting in extended usage cycles for each bottle.
However, Kewpie cut the price to reflect the 15% reduction in size, so it could be that stores are ordering more to satisfy consumer demand for cheaper products of all types--something Kewpie apparently adamantly denies.
This TV commercial from Softbank does a great job selling the Samsung 930SC. Not only is it incredibly eye-catching and engaging, it covers the bases in showing how the device offers a lot of the things Japanese consumers feel are missing from Apple's iPhone (e.g., it lets you watch TV, lets you send mail with emoji*, has a 5.1 MB pixel camera).
Academy award winning composer Ryuichi Nakamoto appears in the spot and composed the music as well.
See the full-motion version on Samsung Japan's website here.
Valentine's Day is just a little more than a week away.
In Japan, the holiday has traditionally been a one-way street, where only women give chocolate or homemade sweets to men (who are expected to return the favor in a Japan-created holiday known as "White Day" that falls on March 14).
However, according to one research study I read recently, something like 20% of Japanese men plan to give presents to women on Valentine's Day this year, and now a couple of Japan's major confectioners have included in their lineups new products targeting male purchasers.
The product shown above is a clever example from Morinaga. Splashed with a blue ribbon that roughly translated says "This year, give in reverse," the package makes a playful appeal to men with English language product copy that's printed backwards.
While a lot of people (including me) were out of town at this time last month, Levis Japan threw open the doors of a new high-end boutique in the posh Aoyama district of Tokyo.
Showcasing premium Levi's products sourced from their operations worldwide, Cinch offers three collections in the 150 M2 store.
The first line is Levi's Vintage Clothing, which, leveraging Japanese interest in rare and vintage products, gives cash-rich shoppers the chance to buy—amongst other things—$1,500 revival versions of historic jeans models, including a design first sold in 1917 (a Nikkei article says that most items in the Vintage line retail in the $300-400 range).
If when it comes to your morning coffee or tea, you're a sipper rather than a gulper, you may be interested in this sleek mug that Thermos Japan started selling not too long ago. Holding 280 ccs (about 9.5 oz), it's quite a bit different from those you often see in the U.S. which (to me) seem more like canteens, rather than mugs (to be expected, I suppose, since when you go to most American Starbucks and ask for a "small" coffee, they serve you a 12 oz!drink).
I'm looking forward to getting one; I drink my morning 6 oz coffee so slow that it's ice cold by the time I'm half-way through.
Mmmm. Yummy. These new "cheese sandwich" style Ritz Crackers were recently introduced by Yamazaki-Nabisco especially for the Japanese market. The one on the left features Camembert cheese sprinkled with black pepper. The one on the right combines Chedder and Gorgonzola cheeses. Each pack contains nine sandwiches (388 calories). At my local convenience store they were priced at 158 yen (about $1.63).
I'm not sure if Recaldent brand gum is available outside Japan. A quick search of the Net shows that the ingredient Recaldent is being used in toothpastes and gums elsewhere, but Japan may be the only place where ingredient and brand name are one in the same, at least as far as gums go.
Japan is no stranger to functional gums, and in this case, the functions are two-fold. Regular Recaldent claims to strengthen and protect tooth enamel, and has been available in Japan for a few years. But the most recently released variant, a citrus-berry flavored variant being marketed under the sub-branded name "Smart Time," is also supposed to satiate your hunger.
Dunno how that little bit of liquid in each tablet is supposed to quell your growling stomach, but I'm sure plenty of young Japanese women are giving it a try.