TOKYO (Reuters) - Smartphones and Twitter were the hottest products in Japan in 2010 and travel and leisure were back on the menu, an ad agency survey showed, as penny-pinching consumers rediscovered their fun side.
Flat-screen TVs equipped for digital broadcasting placed fourth in Dentsu's annual "Hit Product Recognition Survey" and energy-saving appliances ranked eighth.
Overseas flights from Tokyo's Haneda airport, which resumed full-fledged international services for the first time in 32 years and grabbed headlines with a glitzy new terminal, placed sixth, the survey showed.
The 2010 soccer World Cup, in which Japan's "Samurai Blue" surprised by advancing beyond the group stages, placed ninth.
Japanese consumers have in recent years been forgoing the latest designer brands and cool gadgets in favor of bargain shopping as the economy continues to lag, but the latest crop of tech products has been generating considerable buzz.
Tablet information devices, such as Apple's iPad, came in at 19th, the survey showed, but rose to No.10 in a separate question that predicted hit products and services next year.
And don't forget the 3D boom: 3D movies, TVs and other 3D products placed 15th this year, and are expected to jump to No.6 next year, the survey showed.
On the other hand, the inexpensive retail merchandise that dominated last year's survey vanished from the top 10.
Low-priced domestic-brand fashions, such as those found at casual-clothing retailer Uniqlo, slipped to No. 13 from third place last year, and were absent from the top 20 list of next year's predictions.
Here are the top 10 items in Dentsu's 2010 Hit Products survey, conducted over the Internet earlier this month with responses from 1,000 people:
3. Munchable chili oil
4. Digital broadcasting-equipped widescreen flat-panel TVs
5. Ryoma Sakamoto (a popular historical figure on whom a hit Samurai drama series was based)
6. International flight services at Haneda Airport
7. Tokyo Sky Tree (new broadcasting tower to be completed in 2012)
8. Energy-saving appliances eligible for a rebate scheme
9. 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa
10. LED light bulbs
Reporting by Chris Gallagher, editing by Elaine Lies