What’s Popular in Japan? Here Are the Top 3 Hit Products of 2017!

  • CULTURE
  • It’s that time of the year again when Nikkei Trendy releases a top 30 ranking of the hit products in Japan for the year, i.e. between October of the previous year and September of the current year, based on three aspects: sales, novelty, and influence. This ranking is a good indicator of what’s hot in Japan, so if you are looking for some ideas on the most fashionable or sought-after products and services to buy and try during your trip, check out the top three for 2017!

    3. Crowdfunding

    Crowdfunding isn’t exactly new, but it has been garnering a lot of attention, be it positive or negative, this 2017. Generally, there are two main types of crowdfunding: (1) where people give donations for the purpose of supporting a charitable or commercial cause and with no tangible returns or (2) where people invest their money in return for shares, dividends, interest, or products and services.

    This form of financing is especially beneficial and useful for small startups and companies struggling to get capital for the development of their businesses or organizations and to raise funds for their causes. With the proliferation of crowdfunding websites these days, anyone or any organization can easily make use of this service to raise money and find like-minded people to support their initiatives.

    However, the growing popularity of crowdfunding is not without controversy. In 2017, there have been some causes on crowdfunding sites that have raised eyebrows such as requesting money to hold a wedding ceremony, help out with child-raising costs, or even funding someone’s holiday expenses.

    In summer of 2017, Japanese actress Maki Yoko faced a lot of backlashes online for her crowdfunding drive to raise money for the publication of her photobook. The problem was not with her intended purpose for the funds, but rather that she planned to release her photobook at Comic Market, which was meant for people to release their self-funded merchandise, and that there was no indication of how the money would be returned to donors or used in the event that she wasn’t even selected to participate in. Last but not least, the high price of her photobook was also a bone of contention to many.

    As much as crowdfunding can be a wonderful tool for those who need it, the likelihood of the service being potentially abused or misused by people is probably what made it a hot topic in 2017.

    2. meiji THE Chocolate

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    For those familiar with Japanese snacks, you would have heard of the company, Meiji, which produces a wide variety of confectionery to suit different consumer needs. This 2017, its premium chocolate range, THE Chocolate, boasted sales of more than 40 million blocks as of November 2017. It is considered a phenomenal hit, especially since this feat was achieved in just one year and two months since its relaunch in September 2016.

    meiji THE Chocolate prides itself on its “Bean to Bar/Farm to Bar” concept where the company sources the best cacao beans from countries like Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, and the Dominican Republic, and manages the whole production process. The eight variants in the product range offer a spectrum of different cacao levels and tastes so you should be able to find something to your liking.

    Considering that the price of a meiji THE Chocolate bar is more than 200 yen, the success of this product suggests that there is a flourishing market for premium chocolate. If you are in Japan now or going soon, you might want to give this a try to see if it is really as good as it seems.

    meiji THE Chocolate Website

    1. Nintendo Switch

    And finally, here’s the no. 1 hit product of 2017 – the Nintendo Switch! For those unfamiliar, Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s hybrid gaming console which is primarily used at home with a docking station connected to a TV. What differentiates it from the competition is that it can be removed from the dock and be used as a tablet or stand-alone tabletop console.

    Since its worldwide launch on 3 March 2017, the Nintendo Switch has sold more than 1.8 million units in just eight months and stocks are still running low. As such, even if you have the money to buy one, it will probably take some time before you can lay your hands on this hot gaming console.

    The Switch was conceptualized back in 2014 when Nintendo was struggling due to the poor performance of its gaming console, Wii U, and competition from mobile gaming. In a bid to turn the company’s fortune around, then-President Iwata Satoru decided that the company should focus on developing their mobile gaming and gaming hardware business. This subsequently led to the birth of the Switch, which, in hindsight, turned out to be a winner for Nintendo.

    Nintendo Switch Website

    If you are interested in finding out the rest of Nikkei Trendy’s top 30, you can refer to this article (Japanese only) for more information.

    How about checking out these hit products and services while in Japan? You might just find something you need and like while keeping up with the latest trends!

    Nikkei Trendy Website *Japanese only