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Amazon tries ‘selling’ Cyber Monday

by Jun Hongo

Staff Writer

Leave it to the country’s online retail giant to create Japan’s version of America’s latest Christmas shopping spree.

Amazon Japan on Monday launched a Cyber Monday campaign to boost holiday shopping, hoping the tradition takes root in Japan and creates a bonanza comparable with that of the United States.

“We are hoping to spread the term, which is still not that known in Japan,” said Rie Oshima, Amazon Japan’s senior PR manager. “There is no tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in Japan, but we are also hoping that a shopping trend kicks off here this time of year.”

Until recently, the holiday shopping season in the U.S. starts on the Friday after Thanksgiving every year and is known as Black Friday. The following Monday meanwhile is often referred to as Cyber Monday.

While Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Japan, the second week of December is often the peak time for companies to hand out bonus payments to their employees. It is also the week of the year that Amazon Japan sees the most visitors on its site.

“People might not be familiar with the term, but the trend already exists” to some extent, Oshima said. “We are hoping to continue the campaign and spread the tradition.”

Amazon Japan also released the results of its first Christmas season survey Monday.

Of the 4,970 men who replied, 13.3 percent said they wished to receive computers as Christmas gifts this year, 11.8 percent hoped to get games and 10.5 percent wanted either a TV or audio equipment or a camera. Meanwhile 11.9 percent of the 2,662 women who answered the survey said they wished for jewelry or watches for Christmas, followed by 9.9 percent who want clothing and 8.1 percent opting for bags.

While nearly 25 percent of the men said they were seeking a gift for their partner on Amazon Japan, 31.6 percent of women answered that they were seeking gifts for their children. About 70 percent of those surveyed said they intend to keep spending below ¥10,000.

“This was our first Christmastime survey, and we found out that the shopping trends on our site are leaning toward gifts for family members and children,” Oshima said.

The survey also said 53.2 percent planned to do their Christmas shopping online compared with 43.6 percent who said they plan to visit actual stores.