Dyson’s bladeless fans trigger avalanche of copycats as sales heat up

Kyodo

Facing tough competition from British appliance maker Dyson Ltd., Japanese firms are trotting out their own versions of bladeless electric fans.

Dyson will begin selling its Dyson Air Multiplier fan tailored for the Japanese market in stores from April 18 with an estimated price tag of around ¥54,000.

Dyson’s AM02, its first fan designed for Japan, where sitting on tatami mats is common, stands 13 cm lower than its existing product.

Unlike conventional fans, Dyson models lack fast-spinning blades and instead use a technology that amplifies air flow up to 16 times to produce an uninterrupted stream.

Taking on Dyson, Panasonic Corp. will launch its own bladeless fan, the Slim Fan F-S1XJ, on May 20.

Resembling a rod, the slim fan is 18 cm wide, 95 cm high and can fit into small spaces. It costs about ¥35,000.

Sharp Corp. this month is due to launch its PF-FTC1, a fan that employs plasma cluster ion technology that kills bacteria.

Priced at about ¥40,000, the fans use lights and sounds to warn of temperatures that can cause heat stroke.

The company expects demand to remain strong in fiscal 2013 and eyes sales of around 6.4 million units.

Market research firm GfK Marketing Services Japan Ltd. said sales of bladeless electric fans are likely to grow although they are currently expensive and only hold a 10 percent share of the market.