President and CEO
This year will be the 59th since the world said hello to a business helping people live together happily. Then as now, our philosophy of Small Gift Big Smile! is the foundation of everything we do to provide social communications through small, charming gifts.
Today, consumers are never without a mobile device in their hands. It's only natural that these devices have changed consumer behavior in major ways, even compared to a few years ago. We get news from our phones instead of the newspaper. Rather than go to the movie theater, we watch movies on screens we hold in the palm of our hands. Online shopping has become an everyday habit.
With perhaps the exception of perishable goods for family meals, cosmetics, and medicine, we go increasingly to our mobile phones to do our shopping. Recent surveys have shown that consumers feel they have all the necessities and then some. They feel less inclined to buy new things.
Before the advent of mobile devices, we would go to highend department stores or specialty retailers to buy clothes and accessories. We understood the value and pride in these rare items as we held them in our hands. But, our smartphones have introduced great change in our lifestyles and attitudes. We no longer spend time as we used to. We don't go window shopping anymore. If we want to talk with someone, we use social media. We only take action for things we really like. We select purchases based solely on our own values, rather than for the value of others. Very few consumers are still interested in spending money on high-priced items from traditional luxury brands. In days past, luxury items could only be purchased in famous urban department stores. Now, we find these items in rural department stores, big box retailers, and even online. We identify less value in owning luxury brand items.
On the other hand, many of us still go to department stores and gift shops when it comes to purchasing gifts for Christmas, Valentine's Day, birthdays, and weddings.
Young people today have less interest in those luxury items available anywhere and everywhere. They receive more satisfaction through their own preferences and in following people they look up to. They follow celebrities, entertainers, and anime characters, willing to travel great distances to take personal photos and buy themed goods. Yes, people still enjoy going in person to see their favorite celebrities and entertainers talk, sing, or dance. This is one experience that cannot be replicated with a smartphone.
I see this clearly every time I visit Sanrio Puroland. I feel a thrill seeing people so happy to take photos with our celebrity characters, the famous Hello Kitty, My Melody, Cinnamoroll, Gudetama, and others.
Sanrio characters have been a part of the lives of so many people, forming some of their earliest, happiest memories. Today, our characters form fond memories for people across Asia, America, Europe, and the rest of the world. We see so many opportunities for our characters to bring the people of the world together. In just two examples, Taiwan's EVA Air is operating a Hello Kitty Jet, while West Japan Railway launched a Hello Kitty shinkansen on June 30.
We ask for your continued support of the Sanrio characters, so loved that they cross barriers of language and culture throughout the world.