(Number in parentheses indicates 2011 ranking)

1 Smart phones (1)

2. Tokyo SkyTree (3)

3. Facebook and other SNSs where users register their real names (27)

4. Robot vacuum cleaners (21)

5. Salt yeast (127)

6. “Sugi-chan” (entertainer) (-)

7. Characters for promoting local regions (-)

8. Female idol groups such as AKB48 (5)

9. London Olympics (-)

10. Low-cost Carrier airlines (LCC) (39)

In November 2011, Dentsu Research conducted a nationwide survey of 1,000 male and female adults from age 20 to 69. The respondents selected smart phones as the most conspicuous item of 2012. Several years earlier, cell phones which folded on a hinge were the main type use, but now their share of the overall market has declined sharply — an indication of how rapidly the world of information technology is changing. The 3rd place item in the survey, facebook and other SNSs, also showed major gains in the number of users. These are now widely utilized for promotional activities by corporations as well. In forth place were robot vacuum cleaners, some 300,000 of which were sold in Japan last year. They had first made their appearance several years ago, but more recently the increase in number of companies manufacturing them has led to greater consumer recognition.

Shiokoji or salt yeast rose to 5th place from 127th the year before. Salt and yeast are mixed with water and fermented and matured to create a traditional Japanese flavoring, which has been used from ancient times to pickle or preserve vegetables or fish. More recently the item has found its way into cookbook recipes and has been introduced on TV programs.

Sugi-chan, stage name of popular entertainer Eiji Sugiyama, came from out of nowhere to be ranked 6th place. The performing girls’ troupe AKB48 declined from 5th to 8th place, but still remained in the top 10.

According to analysis by Dentsu Research, this year Japan will continue to show signs of its having overcome the inconveniences to living created by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, and it is supposed the economy will shift from one of contraction to a more optimistic one in which consumption reflects livelier and brighter mentality. The report says there will be such tendencies that people try to find better results than their expectations, they are willing to find newness in old things, or want to be alone, but at the same time, seeking out relationships with others.



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