| Hit products have a detachable connection to the stream of the times. The boom in black box sales arose from the need to provide evidence in car accidents. The device`s concept as a reliable witness also worked as people wanted to feel secure in uncertain times. The introduction of the five-day workweek and family travel opened a boom in camping goods sales. Products that promote empathy and ease physical fatigue are also enjoying high popularity. The reason people around the world are absorbed in rapper Psy`s hit "Gangnam Style" is their desire for a sense of relief in a difficult period.
The greatest virtue of hit products is universality that goes beyond generation and social class. Many items lose popularity in less than a year after an explosive boom immediately after release. Those that enjoy a brief spike in demand deserve no honor. Examples of products that deserve credit are Bacchus, a South Korean energy drink with combined sales of 17.3 billion bottles as of last year since its release in 1963, and Hwalmyeongsoo, a drinking digestive aid with sales of 8.3 billion bottles in more than 100 years of release. Choco Pie, a snack that swept not only the domestic market but also those of Russia and China and proven a hit with workers at North Korea`s Kaesong industrial complex, is also a true hit product.
North Korea, a nation where the true meaning of the market is weak, surprisingly also has hit products. The problem is the lack of credible indicator to prove what products are selling hot there. Presumptions of what such items might be come only from information obtained from markets, merchants operating around the North`s border with China, and North Korean defectors. Dong Yong-seung, senior fellow at Samsung Economic Research Institute, tried to explain the changes seen in the North from 2010 through the top 10 hit products there. Pine mushrooms and blue crabs were selected to the list in 2010. How ironic that North Koreans benefited from both products, which were released at relatively cheap prices by North Korean authorities after losing their export channels in the aftermath of Pyongyang`s nuclear tests, missile launches and the 2010 sinking of the naval vessel Cheonan. In 2011, mobile phones and USBs became hit products in the North. Rumors have it that these products hugely contributed to the spread of South Korean soap operas in the Stalinist country.
Last year, Ri Sol Ju, the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, set trends in North Korea. The polka dot dress she wore grew popular as she made unprecedented public appearances wearing it in going against the manners of her predecessors. By over-issuing travel licenses, condom demand has also increased in the North, which has fueled a boom in lodging and adult entertainment. Most surprising is the re-emergence of manual threshing machines. Improving labor productivity by using equipment of 30 years ago is undesirable, however. The world is discussing a genome revolution beyond the digital revolution.
Editorial Writer Ha Tae-won (email@example.com)