By Barrett Ishida

Photo: Barrett Ishida

Photo: Barrett Ishida

As we wind down the last days of 2014, it’s a good time to reflect on the year as well as look to the next. Dentsu just released its annual survey results for the top 20 “hit products” of 2014. 

Topping the list was Disney’s animated film, Frozen, which swept the country like a blizzard. Its Let It Go single, both the English original and Japanese versions sung by recording artist May J (single ver.) and Takako Matsu (film ver.) could be heard on repeat in Japanese shops nationwide. In at second, and reflecting highly on how companies and localities brand themselves, was talking mascot characters. Falling two spots from 2013 but still holding strong at number 3 was the Tokyo Sky Tree, the tallest tower in the world and highest point in the city's skyline.

Rounding out the top 5 were free voice calling apps such as LINE, and the Yo-kai Watch video game along with its manga and toys, at 4 and 5 respectively.

2014's Top 20

  1. Frozen (Walt Disney animated movie) (–)
  2. Talking mascot characters (10)
  3. Tokyo Skytree (1)
  4. Free voice call apps (such as LINE) (13)
  5. Yo-kai Watch (games, manga and toys) (–) 
  6. Smartphones (3) 
  7. SNSs such as Facebook that require real name registration (24)
  8. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ (Universal Studios Japan) (–)
  9. Convenience store freshly brewed coffee (7)
  10. Robot cleaners (4)
  11. NHK television morning drama series (–)
  12. Sochi Winter Olympic Games (–)
  13. Hybrid cars (2)
  14. Japanese Nobel laureates (for blue LEDs) (–)
  15. Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) (Japanese anime movie) (22)
  16. Halloween costumes (60)
  17. Tablet devices (35)
  18. Tomioka Silk Mill (–)
  19. Premium beer (–) 
  20. Compact cars/K-cars (engine displacement up to 660 cc) (16)

* ( ) denotes 2013's position

2015 looks to bring in a whole new array of hit products and likely leading the way for the not-yet-listed are electric and fuel cell-powered vehicles. Japan is an automotive giant (3rd largest vehicle market in the world, 2nd for PEVs), and Tesla just recently entered the country hoping to re-electrify its what is becoming stagnant PEV market. 2nd place is predicted to go to 3D printers and 3rd to low-priced smartphones. 

2015's Expected Hits

  1. Electric vehicles (including fuel cell-powered vehicles)
  2. 3D printers
  3. Low-priced smartphones
  4. Jet aircraft manufactured in Japan
  5. 4K television sets
  6. Thinking about how to lead your life in your later years and preparations for the end of your life
  7. Smartwatches
  8. Car sharing
  9. Public Wi-Fi
  10. Wearable cameras

For a closer look at the complete survey: Dentsu Announces "2014 Hit Products In Japan"