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Japan toys market: Small value sales decrease witnessed during 2012
Toys and Games in Japan - a new market research report on 2014-03-31 10:29:02
Toys and games in Japan recorded a marginal decrease in value sales in current terms in 2012, as consumers continued to cut back on non-essential expenditure, which impacted on the frequency of purchasing toys and games. By category, traditional toys and games performed well in 2011, but was not able to sustain similar growth in 2012. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, there was rising demand for traditional toys and games as parents and grandparents recognised a new role for traditional toys in making their children happy following the difficult aftermath; however, with life returning to normal following the turbulent year of 2011, the demand for traditional toys and games subsided.

In video games, on the other hand, the introduction of Nintendo Co´s new hardware console, Wii U, performed an important role to boost the overall performance of video games. In addition, video games sales were influenced by the increased popularity of free and lower-priced mobile and digital gaming.

With a smaller number of children due to a decreased birth rate, Japan´s toys and games industry is changing drastically to accommodate and target a wider customer base, including adults. Sales from this consumer group are relatively strong and stable as adults have greater purchasing powers and are willing to spend money on their hobbies and collectable items. Toy manufacturers are further focusing on delivering a variety of toy products, including collectable action figures, model kits and capsule toys to target adults specifically. This strategy is to help offset losses from declining sales of children´s products due to their decreasing population.

Due to the rising penetration of smartphones and consumers´ preferences for free and lower-priced play, there has been a growing shift towards mobile and digital gaming. In response to this change, video games software manufacturers are active in merging and acquiring online and mobile gaming software manufacturers to create new opportunities in the growing area of mobile and digital gaming. As the industry continues to evolve, traditional video games manufacturers are finding themselves competing across various types of gaming platforms for control of gaming sales from Japanese consumers.

While traditional toys and games stores and electronics and appliance specialist retailers are the leading retail channels for Japan´s toys and games, internet retailing showed the fastest growth in 2012. Consumers became more comfortable shopping online and they are able to search and compare the prices of different channels and websites to find the best purchasing option. In addition, online shopping is a convenient way to purchase products for those who have hectic lifestyles and can only shop during off-peak hours.

The forecast period is expected to see slower growth than review period for Japan´s toys and games. Traditional toys and games, a large category within toys and games, is expected to be heavily affected by a decrease in the number of children. Under the expected shrinking market, toy manufacturers are projected to further intensify product developments by expanding licensing agreements and targeting a wider range of consumers. In video games, the growing category of digital gaming and the launch of new hardware will drive the overall performance of video games during the forecast period. Consumers are shifting towards digital gaming because of the benefit of low prices and the convenience of being able to play anytime anywhere. Game developers and hardware manufacturers are also expected to respond to this switch by shifting their focus towards digital games. The recent release of Wii U and the upcoming launch of PlayStation 4 will also be key drivers for the overall performance of video games during the forecast period.

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