Health & Fitness, Relaxation, Home Cooking
The Ten Hottest Products in 2013
What were Taiwan's ten hottest products in 2013 that grabbed market share and consumers' hearts? Will they still sell like hotcakes in the coming year too?
The Ten Hottest Products in 2013By Margaret Pai
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 538 )
Sports & Leisure Products
Spurred by a jogging craze and consumer demand for customized sportswear and sports gear, both brick-and-mortar and online vendors in Taiwan posted good results in 2013.
Sales of men's and women's sport shoes grew more than six-fold on the ruten.com.tw online auction site, whereas other sports and fitness products registered 20 percent growth. At the Sogo department stores' anniversary sales, sports and leisure products also posted a 10 percent rise in sales.
Home Cooking Kitchen Appliances
Alarmed by a string of major food scandals, consumers turned away from ready-made foods and started to cook for themselves, boosting sales of all kinds of electric kitchen appliances. Bread machines, oil presses, noodle machines, small electric hot pots, egg roll makers, juicers and other easy-to-use small kitchen appliances were sought-after, with sales growing 30 percent. The Taipei shopping mall Q Square, for instance, sold 300 egg roll machines in the first hour of its anniversary sales.
Facial Cleansing Devices
Electric facial cleansing systems with rotating sonic brush heads, said to improve skin texture and complexion, are a must among the beauty-conscious. The Shinkong Mitsukoshi department stores sold some 9,000 cleansing systems by the two major brands Clarisonic and Phillips during their annual anniversary sales.
As soaring numbers of people use smartphones and other small-screen mobile devices, physicians have diagnosed a sharp increase in the incidence of age-related eye problems such as worsening vision, cataracts and presbyopia in young people in their early thirties. Short-sightedness among youngsters under the age of eleven now stands at nearly 50 percent. As a result, the market for preventive eye care products is expanding rapidly.
Sales of the eye vitamin lutein at drugstore chain Watson's increased 25 percent and cosmetic retailer Cosmed saw a 20 percent rise in eye drop sales.
Cosmedicals and Makeup
As people chase eternal youth worldwide, anti-aging products are in high demand. Global output of cosmedical products is projected to reach US$6 billion in 2013. Put off from undergoing plastics surgery by high costs, surgical risks or feared side effects, consumers are opting for the less radical option of cosmedical products. Watson's registered a 25 percent increase in cosmedical product sales this year as cosmedical facial masks became one of the must-buy souvenirs for Chinese tourists to take home.
Non-sticky adhesive craft tape with cute, funny cartoon pictures has become a big fad among young office workers. The tape can not only be used to decorate notebooks and cards, but also to give an individual, creative touch to mobile phone cases and pouches. There are even books that teach various ways of using craft tape.
Online vendor books.com.tw has enjoyed a 30 percent increase in craft tape sales. Taiwanese designers Foufou and Fjumonkey have jumped on the bandwagon by releasing their own branded lines of craft tape.
After the first smart TVs hit the market in 2012, sales exploded ten-fold in 2013. All it takes to turn a conventional TV set into an intelligent, Internet-enabled device is a smart TV stick. On top of watching traditional broadcasted programs, the TV set can also be used to play games, sing along to Karaoke tunes, rent online videos or connect a mobile phone to view photos and videos.
Supermarket chain Carrefour boosted smart TV sales from 5,000 sets in 2012 to 60,000 sets in 2013. On average, four of ten customers who bought a new TV set switched to a smart TV.
Despite the proliferation of mobile digital devices and a vast selection of digitalized music, nostalgia has triggered a comeback of the traditional vinyl record with global sales jumping 30 percent in 2013.
Aside from their collector value, music aficionados have long held that vinyl records are superior to digital tunes when it comes to nuance and sound quality. Vinyl record sales, mainly foreign classical recordings, doubled at Eslite stores in 2013. Interestingly, reprints of the albums of older Taiwanese singers such as Sarah Chen and Jonathan Lee have been released in Taiwan, while the much younger Cheer Chen released a vinyl album for the very first time. The popular band Mayday released their 1999 debut album Mayday's First Album on vinyl, which sold 2000 records within three months.
Consumers are getting pickier about what they eat. Statistics by home delivery service Black Cat show that sales of organic foods jumped 1.5-fold over 2012. Online sales of fruit and other agricultural produce grew 2.6-fold, as small farmers have become increasingly savvy about marketing their produce via multiple channels. Additionally, consumers are more willing to pay higher prices for products that are safe and healthy.
A survey by the Taiwan Society of Sleep Medicine shows that one in five Taiwanese suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders. Sleeplessness is more prevalent among older people, leading to growing demand for sleep aids.
Cosmed observed that a higher ratio of customers is asking for advice on sleep aid products with women over thirty accounting for the lion's share of inquiries. Sales of Gaba supplement pills, which are said to induce relaxation, analgesia and sleep, increased 20 percent in 2013. Furthermore, more than 3,000 aromatherapy diffusers, which cleanse indoor air and provide relaxation, were sold within three months.
Translated from the Chinese by Susanne Ganz