Hit Habit Forecast is a regular column of the Hit Habit Makers, a group of young planners at Hakuhodo HQ that gamely stood up to say they were going to create hit habits—not hit products—as consumption shifts from purchasing things to purchasing experiences. Analyzing social media accounts and purchasing data of highly sophisticated users, and conducting analysis on popular articles, etc. in a variety of media that have their fingers on the pulse of social trends: this is the bold, new challenge of forecasting hit habits that are about to break.
Hello. I’m Kozue Muto of the Hit Habit Makers.
The weather has turned cold in Japan. I have an allergic reaction to changes in temperature and my nose runs constantly with the change in temperature from inside to out, and from when the sun is out to the cold of night. Perhaps because I’ve been home more this year, I’ve started taking better care of myself.
While looking for a way to boost the nutrients in my normal diet, I came across something called “powdered milk for adults.” Personally, I’ve always thought of powdered milk as something for children and infants to drink, so I investigated it a bit more and discovered that it was being featured on TV and in magazines.
Therefore, in this issue, I’d like to discuss “children’s habits for adults,” or the habit of using adult versions of things we normally think of as for children.
Ordinary powdered milk formula is for infants, but powdered milk for adults lets adults ingest supplements that support adult health and a balanced combination of nutrients, all in one go. A certified Japanese space food, buzz developed around powdered milk for adults when it was reported that astronauts would be drinking it in space.
If you search for “otona yō kona miruku” (powdered milk for adults), you’ll see that media exposure has skyrocketed recently.
And on social media, I found many comments like “I tried powdered milk for adults in my coffee and it was delicious!” “It dissolves easily in water and is surprisingly easy to drink,” and “I tried putting it in stew.” It seems that powdered milk for adults is not just being dissolved in skin-temperature hot water, as for babies, but used for health purposes and to supplement the nutrients in food and drinks.
Next, we have the randoseru, a firm-sided backpack used by Japanese elementary school students. The sturdy and durable backpacks are strongly associated with children. But randoseru backpacks for adults have recently been attracting attention in Japan and overseas, including in Germany and the US. The impetus for manufacturing randoseru backpacks for adults was many consumers calling for an adult version to be made available as well.
The functional and stylish randoseru design is perfect for business and pleasure and, being made from leather, the backpacks develop a pleasing patina and shape the more they are used. People grow attached to them! Many Japanese would have had a randoseru when they were in elementary school. Most would be familiar with the backpacks since childhood, and more than anything, they are just easy to wear and to use .
Another thing is jump rope. Jump rope is a sport that elementary school kids partake in. While we’ve long had longer jump ropes for adults, these have evolved, and recently we have the “air jump rope,” a ropeless jump rope with a digital display that can record jump time and number of jumps, which can also be used indoors. Most likely these have become popular as more people are exercising and dieting at home during the pandemic.
So why are “children’s habits for adults” hot just now?
One reason, I believe, is that items for use by children are made to be safe and easy to use. Since the versions for adults are just souped-up adaptations of the items for children, there is peace of mind from knowing that adults can use them safely, too.
Secondly, particularly in terms of the powdered milk for adults and randoseru, there’s the element of surprise that they’re for use by adults. We normally think of powdered milk as formula for babies and randoseru as backpacks for elementary school kids. Perhaps making adult versions piques people’s interest, making them want to try them.
Finally, let’s consider possible business opportunities in children’s habits for adults.
Examples of business opportunities in “children’s habits for adults”
■ Manufacturing canvas indoor school shoes for adults for use at work
■ Developing adult bouncers for use when winding down
■ Creating high-difficulty adventure playgrounds for adults, like those on TV shows where contestants show off their physical prowess
And so on.
Since powdered milk for adults is apparently rich in added iron and calcium and I suffer from terrible anemia, I think it might be good if I added it to my coffee and tea at home. I’m going to give it a go!