Tuesday, June 15, 2010

WSJ: Big Five hope for a World Cup sales boost

The Wall Street Journal's Japan Real Time blog had a post a few days back outlining hopes among the Big Five for a boost in sales as fans watch the World Cup and cheer for Japan (who managed a win over Cameroon last night).

Especially, team sponsor Kirin is hoping to cash in with a special World Cup beer being sold across Japan. The article says that Kirin did see a sales increase during the last World Cup in Germany, where Japan failed to make it past the first round.

Things are not looking good for the Big Five overall:

The scale of that challenge was captured by data released today by the five major breweries, which showed an 8.4% on-year drop in sales of cases of beer in May to a record low for the month

What explains the recent, steady drop in beer sales in Japan? A number of factors are often mentioned. This article pointed to the aging population and the bad economy. But are there other things at work? Is beer losing its place as the standard drink among young people? Are the same young people unwilling to spend as much to party as older generations were? Or is the "beer" market, now over-populated with happoshu and other swill, too diffuse to attract new customers?

I don't have the answer, but it is an interesting questions. Another interesting one: Is that special World Cup beer from Kirin any good? Is it even a new kind of beer or just a new label? I ... will check.

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