(Bloomberg) Purimopueru is a knee-high Japanese doll with soft, apple-spotted cheeks and big, black button eyes. It comes in green and pink, and when you cuddle it, it talks back. The doll, an award-winner at last week's Tokyo Toy Show, is generating new sales among the elderly for creator Namco Bandai Holdings Inc. as Japan's birthrate drops.
Bandai, which markets 20 percent of its toys to adults, started the Purimopueru line for children in 1999. It's now Bandai's best-selling doll with more than a million bought, mostly by women in their 50s and 60s, said the product's creative director, Hiroko Tajima.
``If you're the government, you've got the tax base to think about. But if you're selling toys or services, the shrinking market is really nothing compared to the gains you can get with a single product that sells well,'' says Martin Schulz, senior economist at Fujitsu's Research Institute in Tokyo. read more