It’s January 2 here in Japan, and for most major stores and savvy consumers alike, that can mean only one thing: fukubukuro! Literally meaning “lucky bag”, fukubukuro give stores a chance to bundle items together – some great, some not so great – to sell off at a massively discounted rate and make room for incoming stock. The catch? Customers have no idea what they’re buying until after they’ve handed over their cash. Usually, though, they get far more than what they pay for.
For larger companies like Apple, lucky bags are also a great opportunity to drum up a little additional publicity and get people lining up outside their stores hoping for the chance to buy one. Ever the Mac and iPhone fan, our reporter extraordinaire Mr. Sato was there to grab some swag for himself.
Apple began selling its own fukubukuro (which are in fact rather stylish backpacks packed full of goodies) early this morning, and of course there were plenty of people arriving on the scene well in advance to secure their chance of scoring some seriously high quality goods for a fraction of the normal price.
Mr. Sato arrived at the Shibuya store a full day before it opened for the new year – decidedly late by hardcore Apple fans’ standards – procured his own ticket entitling him to buy a lucky bag, and then waited patiently for the doors to open.
Last year, the same store gave away eight Macbook Air laptops randomly placed in lucky bags retailing for 33,000 yen (US$313). Other prizes included iPods, iPads and dozens of quality accessories. The bags were 3,000 yen more expensive this time around, however, leading our reporter to wonder whether Apple was being even more generous than usual with its bags’ contents.
▼ Mr. Sato’s lucky bag ticket
So, how did Mr. Sato get on? Was he fortunate enough to get a bag containing the top prize of a new Macbook Air or even a nice new iPad? Or would he come away with the not-too-shabby-but-hardly-worth-camping-out-for iPod Nano and a bunch of new gadgets?
Well, as luck would have it…
Look at his little face.
Yup, 2014 is already looking to be a great year for our reporter. He scored a bag containing not only a ton of cool accessories, but also an 11-inch 128GB Macbook Air. Sure, he had to line up for the best part of 24 hours to get a chance to buy one of the bags, but when our young reporter Tashiro sat outside the same Apple Store for eight days this time last year and came away sorely disappointed, it just goes to show that these fukubukuro live up to their name–it’s all about luck!
▼ Not all lucky bags are created equal…
So let’s take a look inside Mr. Sato’s own lucky bag and see what he walked away with:
- First, there’s the bag itself. Not too shabby!
- Next, an Apple Magic Mouse, normally retailing in Japan for 7,200 yen ($68)
- A pair of JayBird BlueBuds X wireless earphones (18,800 yen or $178)
- Morphie juice pack powerstation mini portable battery (6,980 yen or $66)
- Twelve South PlugBug World travel plug adaptor (4,480 yen or $43)
- Beats by Dre Pill Speaker Gold Edition (21,800 yen or $207)
- A Power Support Air Jacket sleeve for his Macbook Air (5,980 yen or $57)
- And this Apple t-shirt, which we’re quite sure Mr. Sato will be sleeping in this very evening.
Grand total: 176,840 yen, or roughly US$1,680 worth of gear for the price of one 33,000 yen (US$313) lucky bag purchase. We’d call that a pretty good deal!
So come on Apple US, Europe, and everywhere else, forget about Black Friday deals and boring old New Year’s discounts: get with the programme and give us the fukubukuro we deserve!
We’ll leave you now with a short video we shot shortly after Mr. Sato made his purchase this morning. In case you can’t tell, he was rather pleased.
▼ Bonus version