Dentsu announces '2012 Hit Products in Japan'


Dentsu Inc has released its “2012 Hit Products in Japan” report. Produced as part of a series that has been chronicling hit products since 1985, the latest report examines and generalizes major trends that represented the consumer mindset in 2012.

It is based on an Internet survey of Japanese consumers carried out in November by Dentsu Marketing Insight.

Two summers have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Although the deflationary trend this year shows signs of slowing, and the consumer quest for low prices has started to wane, 2012 can be described as a year in which consumers enjoyed extravagance with reserve. Smartphones came in at number one for the third year in a row, but the fact that twelve items made their first appearance on the list shows that times are moving to a new phase.

The following top 20 products (including celebrities and social phenomena) were selected from 55 popular items and services by 1,000 Internet survey respondents aged between 20 and 69. The total scores in three categories — “recognition,” “attraction and interest” and “topicality/buzz” — were calculated to determine the top products of 2012. The figures in parentheses are last year’s rankings.

Features shared by the top-ranking products and services are their nationwide appeal and broad support base. Tokyo Sky Tree, the local mascot characters and the London Olympic Games energized the nation; Sugi-chan and AKB48 cheered people up; and products such as robot cleaners, salted rice malt, non-alcoholic beer and Type 3 eco-cars gave people the opportunity to discover new value.

2012 Hit Products - Previously unranked products are indicated with (-)

No. 1: Smartphones (1)
No. 2: Tokyo Sky Tree (3)
No. 3: SNSs such as Facebook that require real name registration (27)
No. 4: Robot cleaners (21)
No. 5: Salted rice malt (127)
No. 6: Sugi-chan (popular comedian) (-)
No. 7: Local mascot characters (-)
No. 8: AKB48 (5)
No. 9: London Olympic Games (-)
No. 10: Low-cost carriers (39)
No. 11: iPS cells (Dr Shinya Yamanaka) (-)
No. 12: Healthy recipe books produced by health companies and nutrition colleges (-)
No. 13: Non-alcoholic beer (-)
No. 14: Tokyo station (-)
No. 15: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (popular model, singer and fashion blogger) (-)
No. 16: Japanese athletes who are active on the international stage (-)
No. 17: Packaged instant fresh noodles (-)
No. 18: Apartment/house sharing (-)
No. 19: Type 3 eco-cars (28)
No. 20: Collaborative product promotions that span industry segments (-)


  • 0


    Salted rice malt? Anyone know what it's called in Japanese?

  • 1

    David Van Cleef


  • 0


    Anyone know what it's called in Japanese?

    Shio kouji.

    Actually from fermented rice.

  • 1



    Half of these are not really "products."

  • 2

    Kent Mcgraw

    Where do you purchase Collaborative product promotions that span industry segments?

  • 1


    Local mascot characters


    Packaged instant fresh noodles

    maruchan seimen

  • 0

    Mike Critchley

    Talk about reaching. Things are bad in Japan when a list of "products" like this become news.

  • 0


    packaged & instant = not fresh

  • 0


    Wow. I wonder where I can buy some iPS cells to rejuvenate my ailing and aging body parts.

  • 0


    I'll take 2 Skytrees to go.

  • 0


    And 1 Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (I have no idea who she is but the name sounds cute) hold the comedian, and a side order of low fat Tokyo station.

  • 0


    An eclectic collection. I'm going to throw myself into all of these trends with two exceptions. The London Olympics, 'cos lets face it, it's a bit late now. And non-alcoholic beer because there's no point.

  • -1



    Where do you purchase Collaborative product promotions that span industry segments?

    Dentsu is glad you asked, Kent.

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