Research claims a new trend has helped to bolster sales of domestic appliances in Japan.
Data from research specialist GfK said "strong replacement demand" also helped to buoy demand for appliances during the first six months of 2011. But it was a "continued consumer trend towards a clean home environment and towards cooking and dining at home" which played a key role.
Sales of microwave ovens were up year-on-year during the period, again thanks in part to the home cooking trend. Demand from consumers for related labour-saving products such as plastic steamers for microwaves was also noted by GfK.
Refrigerator sales cooled after a strong performance in 2010 but sales of washing machines remained solid. 2.63 million washing machines were sold in the first half of 2011, up by 4 per cent year-on-year. The figure was pushed up thanks to the increasing popularity of top-loading machines which GfK said now often come with an extended range of features in order to attract buyers.