Tasty New Year's Sake in 2016

I am an advocate of target marketing. The reason is that I wish strongly for the recovery of the audiovisual business. Some people talk as if the audiovisual market has ended, but people's senses of seeing and hearing, those gifts to human sensibilities, will exist eternally, as will music and images, the ultimate cerebral stimuli. Their end would mean the end of humankind, so it is just out of the question.

Nevertheless, the market is not going to remain afloat unless the industry properly understands market conditions and makes audiovisual products that customers want, and unless customers are able to actually see, touch, and experience these products in retail stores.

What is important for us right now is to determine where the market is and who we want to satisfy-in other words, to identity the target of our marketing. Young people are hooked on smartphones and mobile devices, and communication expenses are eating up their disposable income. Accordingly, although they might purchase related goods like headphones and network products, we cannot expect young people to splash out on the more substantial audiovisual products that prop up the industry. These young people remain a potential source of future demand, but for the time being they are only going to be interested in commodity merchandise. We are going to have to engage in a war of attrition to strengthen the fabric of our industry and expand.

We cannot hope for sound growth unless we compose and create products and genres that our customers really want and that could support our industry. That is why I would like to propose that our target should be the baby-boom generation and generations influenced by these first baby boomers.

The first baby-boom generation, now aged 65 years or more, was brought up on films and music, so these people should be our major target. The generation most influenced by these first baby boomers is the so-called baby-boom junior generation, born between 1971 and 1974 and now aged 39-42 years. Around two million people were born every year during this second baby-boom period. They had parents who were both original baby boomers, and they grew up in an affluent era, although they also experienced the job-seeking freeze following the collapse of the bubble economy in the early 1990s.

Then there is the so-called true baby-boom junior generation, born between 1976 and 1980 and now aged 33-37 years. Most of the members of this generation had baby-boom parents and were teenagers in Japan's lost decade of the 1990s. There is also the broader so-called post-baby-boom junior generation, born between 1976 and 1985 and now aged 28-37 years. Like people born later in the true baby-boom junior generation, the members of this generation grew up without experiencing any feelings of economic prosperity and growth.

I include these baby-boom juniors as a target because they were influenced by their parents, who shared their culture in their families. In addition, people who are now in their fifties spent their twenties in the midst of the bubble economy, so they were "children" of the consumption era. And needless to say, audiovisual products played a central role in the consumption boom of those days.

It is this baby-boom generation, and the baby-boom juniors, who are waiting for new suggestions from our industry. In the audio business, high-end genres are well established, but the middle genres have collapsed, products vary among companies, and the business is not giving customers any satisfaction at all.

So now is the time for our industry as a whole to create genres, propose products that customers want with a view to the near future, and create markets with the engagement of distribution. If we start acting now, we can look forward to some tasty New Year's sake in 2016.