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PRedictor 2014
Dentsu PR Yomu-Yomu Trend Prediction Guide

Dentsu Public Relations Inc.
What kind of year will 2014 be for the Japanese market?

In this guide, making the most of Dentsu PR’s know-how and resear...
Dentsu PR’s keyword for Japan in 2014
“Awakening”
2014 will see the first rise in the consumption tax in Japan for 17 year...
Trends: The mood of the era and the social climate
 Tax shock leads to spending changes
In April 2014, the consumption ta...
enhance links between Japan and the rest of the world, boasting top-class
conference and hotel facilities among other thin...
Topics: Illuminating the Age
 Energy generation at home
“2014 marks the beginning of an energy self-sufficient age for ge...
rapid pace. In 2014, we can expect to hear a lot more about “wearable
technology”. There has been plenty of buzz about thi...
People: 7 Sources of Key Personalities in 2014
 90s girls to battle it out
Actresses born in the latter half of the 1980s...
uploading original videos that enjoy millions of views. In 2014, we should start to
see some of them migrate from the web ...
What next for information supply chain?
 “Aggregator media” the key in 2013
If companies want to communicate their storie...
For more information regarding “Dentsu PR Yomu-Yomu”:
Dentsu Public Relations Inc.
Tel: 03-5565-8433
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PRedictor 2014 -- Dentsu PR Yomu-Yomu Trend Prediction Guide

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What kind of year will 2014 be for the Japanese market?

In this guide, making the most of Dentsu PR’s know-how and research resources, we present our predictions for 2014, divided into “Trends”, “Topics” and “People”.

So which trends, topics and people will come to the fore in 2014?

However you choose to use this information, whether as advice for planning or as a fuel for discussion, we hope it proves helpful.

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PRedictor 2014 -- Dentsu PR Yomu-Yomu Trend Prediction Guide

  1. 1. PRedictor 2014 Dentsu PR Yomu-Yomu Trend Prediction Guide Dentsu Public Relations Inc.
  2. 2. What kind of year will 2014 be for the Japanese market? In this guide, making the most of Dentsu PR’s know-how and research resources, we present our predictions for 2014, divided into “Trends”, “Topics” and “People”. So which trends, topics and people will come to the fore in 2014? However you choose to use this information, whether as advice for planning or as a fuel for discussion, we hope it proves helpful. * “Dentsu PR Yomu-Yomu” represents the individual views of the editors and not of the company as a whole.
  3. 3. Dentsu PR’s keyword for Japan in 2014 “Awakening” 2014 will see the first rise in the consumption tax in Japan for 17 years. There are certainly very few among the public who welcome the impact this change will have on their lives. However, it doesn’t all have to spell doom and gloom. If you can set your own standards and prioritize, you can still ensure there’s enough money to invest in the things that you value. With our lifestyles and values becoming increasingly diversified and fragmented, we live in an age of abundant choices, not only for what we consume but for how we live. In this situation, it’s important to establish a “stable self”. We are paying less attention to the norms of society around us, and instead living more according to our own standards. The mild and modest Japanese people are gradually growing bolder. While this development is yet to fully surface, the blood is pumping a little faster through our veins as many businesses and analysts expect the improved consumer sentiment
  4. 4. Trends: The mood of the era and the social climate  Tax shock leads to spending changes In April 2014, the consumption tax rate will finally rise, from 5% to 8%. This change is expected to be preceded by a last-minute jump in demand, and immediately followed by a slump in consumer spending. According to economic journalist Hiroko Ogiwara, “this consumption tax rise will only serve to further polarize people’s lifestyles, making Japan more like America.” Certain individuals and companies who have benefited from policies like “Abenomics” will continue to invest more and grow wealthy, while luxury goods will still sell well whatever the price tag. On the other hand, for many Japanese consumers the tax rise will likely come as a shock. With salaries generally set to stay the same, price competition for food and other essential daily items will intensify, making bargain information and saving tips even more sought after. As such, we will move into a time of “unreal-feeling economic recovery.” In this kind of situation, people will need to carefully prioritize the things in which to invest their limited time and money, in what has been dubbed “value differentiation” (Professor Hiroyoshi Usui, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Journalism, Sophia University). Rather than gravitating towards widely popular big hits, it should become more usual for people to set great store on their own “likes”, leading to a smattering of niche small hits. This tax rise looks set to trigger an acceleration of “self-standardized consumption”, with personal standards coming before the values of others.  Japan opens up to the world As Japan looks forward to hosting a number of major international events in the coming years, 2014 will be a year in which the country steps up its globalization efforts. We should start to see increased moves, both on an official level and among the general public, to improve the environment for foreign visitors to Japan, such as providing more foreign language guidance, free Wi-fi services, and greater credit card and ATM compatibility. For a start, the arrival/departure slots for international flights at Haneda Airport are being expanded. To handle the expected boost in numbers for both tourists and business people from abroad, various foreign hotel chains are set to expand operations here. Much attention is on the area around Shinbashi and Toranomon in central Tokyo, where “Toranomon Hills” will open this summer. This new complex is designed to
  5. 5. enhance links between Japan and the rest of the world, boasting top-class conference and hotel facilities among other things.  GOLDen generation While much of the country suffers from the impact of the consumption tax rise, one group who should remain largely unaffected is middle-aged women around 50 years old, who grew up in the 1970s and ‘80s “bubble generation”. The magazine GOLD, named after the club which was popular during the bubble era in early 1990s, has singled out this group for a spending resurgence. These women have the power to take up some of the slack of their children, who belong to the so-called “Yutori generation” (referring to young people in their mid-20s and younger educated under the more relaxed Japanese education system who tend to lack ambition and desire). Meanwhile, among women in their 30s and 40s, a new class of “loose career” women (neither fully career-focused nor career-less) is emerging, who are spending less than the “bubble generation” but are enjoying an unprecedented level of information diffusion through blogs and social media.
  6. 6. Topics: Illuminating the Age  Energy generation at home “2014 marks the beginning of an energy self-sufficient age for general households.” So says energy journalist Masaya Ishida, of the website “Smart Japan”, which provides expert advice on issues concerning energy saving, storage and generation. The ratio of current energy usage in Japan stands at around 80% for fossil fuels, 10% for nuclear and 10% for renewable energy. However, as renewable energy usage constitutes a key element of the government’s industrial support policy, it is expected to expand. Since the fixed price purchase system for renewable energy started in July 2012, many companies and organizations have launched new business through, for instance, establishing their own power stations. In 2014, this trend is expected to spread to general consumers, with more energy-generation measures aimed at reducing lighting and heating costs at home. In an age of ever-rising electricity bills, households that fail to make use of renewable energy will continue to be at a disadvantage. Looking forward, energy-generation capability should prove an invaluable ally to families hoping to balance the household expenses.  Dinner table diversity These days, around half of the households in Japan are “single” or “couple-only”. Reflecting this, eating habits are becoming increasingly fragmented, making it harder for proper hit products to arise. Despite this trend though, according to Norikatsu Suga, Editor in Chief of The Japan Food Service News, one product to look out for this year is the T-bone steak. Boned beef cuts can now be found on Japanese dinner tables for the first time in over 10 years following the relaxation of import restriction from some countries in February 2013, prompting a mixture of nostalgia among the older generation and curiosity among the young. In the world of coffee, attention is on a growing “third wave” category of “single origin” brands that are identified not only by the country but by the exact plantation where the beans were grown. In this way, it would seem that coffee is becoming viewed in much the same way as wine. The popularity of pancakes also looks set to continue into 2014, with chain stores expanding into more regional cities.  Wearable gadgets From smartphones to tablets, and now fablets, digital devices are evolving at a
  7. 7. rapid pace. In 2014, we can expect to hear a lot more about “wearable technology”. There has been plenty of buzz about this area in the tech industry since Google introduced its “Google Glass”, and this year should see a further development towards more general commercialization. Much is expected of Logbar’s “Ring”, a finger device that can interact with other devices. And “curved displays” on gadgets such as smartphones are another exciting new innovation to look out for. Through their changing roles and forms, digital devices will likely become an even more integral part of our lives in 2014.  Mini video mania With the evolution of social media, sharing of images and other contents has come to be an everyday activity. Now, in 2014, the stage is set for “video sharing” to become the norm. There are already quite a few short video creation and sharing apps available, such as “Vine”, “Viddy” and “MixBit” that allow users to easily film and edit their work in a range of ways, and it seems their use will further spread in the coming year, not only among businesses for their promotional activities but also between general consumers. Video editing is no longer a skill limited to the pros!  LGBT progression While there are plenty of cross-dressing celebrities on our TV screens, Japan still lags behind many other developed countries when it comes to legal rights for its LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) population. As Japan embraces globalization and the need to be more culturally and racially flexible, we could well see some serious moves here to advocate for diversity and inclusion for LGBT citizens. For instance, there should be more attention on same-sex couples across various industries, such as insurance, travel and real estate because of their generally high disposable income. Japan in 2014 seems ready to get with the times and cast off its conservative stance towards LGBT people.
  8. 8. People: 7 Sources of Key Personalities in 2014  90s girls to battle it out Actresses born in the latter half of the 1980s, who broke onto the scene in their late teens before establishing themselves in their early twenties, are starting to shift roles from fresh young girls to mature young women. Now is the time for a new generation of young actresses who were born in the 1990s. It should be fascinating to see how this latest talent battle unfolds.  Changing of the show host guard A few of Japan’s best-known and longest-running daytime shows are reaching an end over the coming months, and their distinguished veteran hosts are also in the process of stepping aside. This year, a procession of challengers, from boy band members to popular comedians, will step up to try to become the new “King of daytime TV”. Who will emerge as the next housewives’ favorite?!  Supporting roles moving into the spotlight 2013 was a year of new smash hit TV dramas, such as “Hanzawa Naoki” and “Ama-chan”. Now, in 2014, a number of supporting actors and actresses who received much attention and plaudits will be enjoying more screen time as their parts are expanded. What they have in common is experience acting in the theater and ability to play a range of roles. In other words, they are helping to raise the quality of production. Expect to see these performers pop up in other TV shows and commercials, while their hit dramas remain fresh in people’s minds.  Winter sport fever! The popularity of winter sports looks set to rocket in 2014. Look out for the emergence of new star Japanese athletes in the Nordic skiing, ski jump and ice hockey events. There are sure to be some memorable comments and phrases uttered by athletes, which will end up being on everybody’s lips!  YouTubers to make mainstream media debut It’s becoming increasingly harder to take your eyes off YouTube. From cover versions of popular songs, to English conversation instruction, and cooking lessons, more and more Youtubers are finding their way to fame through
  9. 9. uploading original videos that enjoy millions of views. In 2014, we should start to see some of them migrate from the web page to mainstream media.  Bad boys and girls to make a comeback!? There are signs that this year could mark a return for a few celebrities who were previously driven out of the entertainment industry due to their shocking behavior and even sent to jail. These former beloved big names will no doubt take the stage with a less polished image, and it should be interesting to see if they can clean up their act second time around.  Playboys becoming elderly gents A number of prominent Japanese actors, who have made their name playing roguish, womanizing characters in the movies and on TV since the 1970s, are entering pensioner-hood. Precisely because of their colorful history, both on and off screen, the image of these graying dandies is unlikely to suffer as they mellow and mature with age, much like a fine wine.
  10. 10. What next for information supply chain?  “Aggregator media” the key in 2013 If companies want to communicate their stories, they must first have a firm understanding of the information supply chain. In this information-saturated age, without a thorough advance plan of when, how and via which media to distribute your information, it is unlikely to reach much of an audience. In 2013, from the viewpoint of people, items, and media, which consolidate masses of information, two main information channels have been at the forefront. One of these follows the more established news flow, of stories delivered digitally via media outlets to portal sites, before spreading to offline, traditional mainstream media. The other, more recent, kind of information flow that has emerged in 2013 Japan is via so-called “matome” (or aggregator) sites and social media networks. Information shared through social media is then spread further by being sorted on these aggregator sites. These distribution routes, interacting with each other, will maximize your information flow. Offline word-of-mouth these days doesn’t easily come about if one of them is lacking.  “On-screen” and “off-screen” the new key words Information supply chains are likely to evolve even further in 2014, not only in terms of media, but also heavily influenced by changes to devices. The boundaries between smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs will become increasingly blurred. Already, fixed-price content providers such as “Hulu” and “UULA” allow users to view on-screen content on multiple devices, and this process will only get quicker with the advancement of “smart TV” combining the functions of TV and Internet. In terms of PR strategy, 2014 may well be the year that many PR practitioners realize the importance of getting a grip on information distribution networks like this crossover on-screen media. The next stage of information distribution channels will likely operate through an integrated combination of on-screen media and off-screen media, including newspapers, magazines, events and POPs. Likewise, PR companies with a full line of services, centered around digital media while possessing specialist units for TV, magazines, newspapers and events, should be the big winners. (Kazuo Kusuda, Head of Digital Communication Division, Dentsu PR)
  11. 11. For more information regarding “Dentsu PR Yomu-Yomu”: Dentsu Public Relations Inc. Tel: 03-5565-8433

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