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Mobile Phone Purchases on the Rise Among Women (July 25, 2006)

A popular mobile-phone shopping site
(c) Tokyo Girls Collection by 2006 s/s
Shopping by mobile phone is enjoying growing popularity among young women, who are discovering the allure of being able to purchase the goods they desire anywhere, anytime. All sorts of items are now just a few button presses away, including brands of clothing worn by popular fashion models and accessories. Popular mobile phone websites specializing in online shopping have seen their sales take off, and apparel manufacturers have been scrambling to create their own sites. New phone technologies are expected to further stimulate this market in the future.

A Fortune to Be Made
In a poll conducted by a market research firm in February 2006, 20.8% of the female respondents said they had made purchases with their cell phones, mainly of such goods as clothing and shoes, CDs and DVDs, and books and magazines. Commenting on this trend, the president of one online business explains that cell phones enable young women to shop on their way home and to get hold of new products featured in magazines that would otherwise sell out quickly in the shops.

Online shopping by phone (PANA)

One online fashion merchant reportedly raked in ¥10 million ($86,950 at ¥115 to the dollar) in a single evening from sales of dresses and other items after it launched a line of women's clothing worn by a popular model and featured in a women's magazine. The retailer says that half of all orders were made from mobile phones. The Xavel, Inc., which operates, one of the biggest mobile phone shopping websites for women, saw its revenues rise 60% in fiscal 2005 (April 2005 to March 2006) to ¥4 billion ($35 million). It expects a further 45% rise in fiscal 2006.

The Tokyo Girls Collection attracted crowds of women eager to purchase the clothes worn by the models.
(c) Tokyo Girls Collection by 2006 s/s

Cell Phone Technology
Improvements in services made possible by advances in cell phone technology are behind the market growth. NTT DoCoMo Inc. laid the groundwork for easy mobile phone shopping when it began offering unlimited access to its FOMA Internet services for a fixed rate. FOMA software that enables users to take a virtual tour of a fashion building and the many brands carried there also contributed to the trend.

With so many choices, new sites to assist cell phone shoppers have been set up to provide a comparison of prices on about 500,000 items available over the Internet. Apparel manufacturers and other companies with catalogue shopping services have joined the competition, and the range and number of goods available for purchase by cell phone will undoubtedly continue to grow.

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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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