Japanese Toy Market: Companies need to adjust strategy to boost consumption
Now for a look at the Japanese toy market. Japan's capital city -- Tokyo -- is holding a four-day International Toy Show, displaying thousands of toys. The exhibits show that companies are now focusing more on unique and educational toys. They also have adjusted their business strategy to target senior customers. Terrence Terashima has the story.
The International Tokyo Toy Show kicked off this week, with over 35-thousand items from almost 200 companies on display. For the last five years, toy sales in Japan are said to have maintained a seven-billion-dollar figure. However, officials say companies have had to diversify consumer targets to maintain shares in the market.
MASAKAZU KOBAYASHI, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE JAPAN TOY ASSOCIATION "Japan is facing declining birthrates, and we have to adapt to the changing demographics. The local toy industry is now looking to develop and supply toys to a broader range of consumers to sustain the industry --- for example, to adults who can either buy toys for themselves or use them to play with their kids or grandchildren."
The industry is also placing more emphasis on unique, educational toys. Take, for example, this cuddly toy – while giving it a bath, its owner is kept in suspense of what animal it may turn into. Once revealed, it increases the owner's affinity to the toy. Sales of educational toys have rapidly increased -- especially popular among parents who want to help develop their child's linguistic and cognitive skills from an early age.
Nostalgia is also said to be a strong element in stimulating sales. For instance, this Mega Drive console offers over 40 games that were produced in the 1990s.
YOSUKE OKUNALI, PRODUCER SEGA GAMES CO., LTD. "There is a cycle where people want to return to playing classic games. It's been almost 30 years since the Mega Drive came out. I think many people have fond memories of it, making them interested in buying the product."
TERRENCE TERASHIMA TOKYO "With declining birthrates, Japanese toy makers are looking into products for senior consumers. Analysts say, unlike the video game market -- which has a core customer base -- the toy industry has to adapt to Japan's ever-changing demographics. Terrence Terashima, CGTN Tokyo."