Hit Habit Forecast: Increasing essentials

Sep. 15, 2020
  • Viewpoints

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.

I’m gradually commuting to the office more often. While I’m delighted to see members of my team that I’ve not seen for a long time, as we dive into our work, my colleagues and I worry about each other’s health. But it makes me think how good it is to be working in the real world.

In this edition, I’d like to talk about “increasing essentials.” With recent changes in everyday life, such as the danger of heatstroke due to wearing a mask, living with COVID-19, and the introduction of charges for single-use plastic bags at stores, it seems there have been changes in the essentials that people carry around with them, and people now have more stuff in their bags. If you search in Japanese for #what’s in my bag, you’ll find around 140,000 hits on a certain social media site, and there are articles in magazines about how the contents of people’s bags has changed.

So what kinds of things are becoming essential items?

For instance, hand-held electric fans, which were a common sight this summer. Some people always kept one on their person to prevent heatstroke. Then we have folding parasols. I heard that more men have been carrying around a dual rain/shine folding umbrella in recent summers. Compared to the past, the sun’s rays feel stronger in recent years, and with squalls and uncommonly hard and heavy rain, these look set to become essential items.

Next, with the pandemic, we have spare masks and mask cases. There’s a risk of losing your mask when you take it off to eat and the like, so having a case gives peace of mind. And it seems schools are saying to carry around spare masks in case students lose the one they’re wearing. In addition, with hand dryers out of use, we also have such things as hand towels, handkerchiefs, anti-bacterial sprays and wipes, and hand soap.

Additionally, I imagine that more than a few that are working both from home and the office are now carrying around work gear, like a laptop and mobile Wi-Fi router, in their private lives.

And then we have reusable bags to use when we go shopping now that there’s a charge for plastic bags at stores. I found several people that even carry around two or three reusable bags. The reason: often what they buy will not fit in one bag. Some also carry multiple reusable bags with them to separate their meat and fish from their vegetables, or to keep takeaway food with a lot of liquid in it separate from other food.

In addition, traditional furoshiki wrapping cloths are popular with young people, and tweets about buying furoshiki instead of reusable bags are increasing, as are posts with photos and videos of furoshiki tied into bags. It’s even possible to see on Google Trends how furoshiki, which can be folded up into a compact package, have been trending since July 2020, when stores started charging for plastic bags.


Source: Google Trends (Search for “Furoshiki” (wrapping cloth))


I believe that as a result of recent changes in climate and society, carrying around these new essentials is becoming a habit.

With the pandemic expected to continue, I believe that the focus on essentials will fall on (1) how small and compact they can be made, (2) how light they can be made, and (3) how they can be kept sanitary.

Finally, I considered increasing essentials business opportunities in the form of “dream bags” for carrying these essentials in.

Examples of increasing essentials business opportunities
■ Large insulated cool pockets or places added to bags people carry every day.
■ Bags with the ability to bear the weight of another bag attached or hung on them. A “bag on bag.”
■ An antibacterial cleaner specifically for bags that can sanitize bags made from any material.
And so on.

While commuting to work, I noticed at an intersection near the office that around one in six people was walking around with two bags. The ratio was higher among women, with some carrying a tote bag and a reusable bag or two tote bags. This reinforced my hunch that people are carrying more around with them, and I thought that if we had a “bag on bag,” it would free up one hand.


Kozue Muto
Member of the Hit Habit Makers
Integrated Planning & Creative Division
Hakuhodo Inc.
Kozue Muto is a huge travel, movie and music buff. These days she mulls a lot about where she wants to go when the Go To Travel campaign to restart domestic travel kicks in. Her interests look set to increase as a result of discovering new aspects of things during life in isolation.
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