Year of Challenge and Attack!

Best wishes for a Happy New Year to you all.

The theme that I have chosen for 2007 is 土ear of challenge and attack! In the early autumn of last year I made three recommendations that I have since been promoting: the super-quality declaration, the two-way theater declaration, and the pure audio renaissance declaration. These proposals have attracted terrific responses from many directions, and it is no exaggeration to say that they have now become conventional wisdom in the industry. I believe that the keys to success this year will be to make a challenge and, moreover, an attack toward the further realization of these three recommendations.

Challenge is natural in whatever age. The things that are occurring at present are all the positive results, or the negative results, of challenges a few years ago. This year we must make this stance of challenge even clearer. The most important point, though, is that this year the challenge must be offensive—in other words, going on the attack to win.

The principle here is that the user comes first. Whatever the case, a recognition of the immutable existence of the user is important. Furthermore, the user changes year by year. This year the baby-boom generation will start reaching retirement age. When this generation, born in the 1947–49 period, leaves work, the economic effect is estimated at \58 trillion, and the labor cost surplus for companies in the decade from 2007 is forecast to be ¥88 trillion.

How are these baby boomers going to spend their daily lives in the first half of their sixties? According to one survey, 80% of men and 70% of women say they want to devote themselves to hobbies; 60% of men and 60% of women say they want to take it easy at home every day; and less than 30% of both men and women say they want to engage in volunteer activities. In other words, the impact on our industry is going to be enormous. Daily life is unthinkable without television and music.

At the same time, the trends toward fewer children and aging are going to become stronger. Elderly people in particular have a strong desire for safety and security. When they purchase products, they are not interested only in cheap prices. Their demand for after-sale service is going to gain momentum, too. And there need to be absolute values in products as well—that is, convenience and ease of use. Kind attention on a daily basis is going to be required in distribution, and the age of the specialty store will become more vivid. This demand will increase in large discount stores as well, and that will be a source of anxiety. Accordingly, a reorganization in the distribution industry will likely occur again.

The degree of trust in former Nippon Electric Big-Stores Association (NEBA) areas depends on the extent of closeness with local users. Looking around these districts, the fact that the older people get, the more trust they have in the local discount store is proof that trust from the opening of the stores is deep-rooted. In consideration of this situation, if cooperation among local discount stores makes progress, distribution of around \1 trillion will appear, and the current pattern of distribution will surely undergo a radical change. At that time, the three-way direction of good for makers, good for distributors, and good for users will become manifest, and the principle of healthy competition will emerge. The “year of challenge and attack!” brings forth such thoughts.

It is said that the customer is searching for something that will give him or her power. My three recommendations are based on my understanding of the expansion of customers, as explained above, and the spread of infrastructure fields, such as terrestrial digital broadcasting. Hence this year’s theme of “challenge and attack!”