Cat-Aholics, Tail Therapy and an Opportunity for the Toy Industry

Patrick/Jun CAI is an independent researcher. With years of marketing, branding, and researching operations with top brands, Patrick will continue following up with the Baby and Infant Industry with a heavy focus on the toy market particularly. 

People say Generation Z is hard to predict –it’s true. As the aboriginal generation of the internet, Gen Z has had quick and easy access to information and knowledge, which was hard to obtain before the Internet era. As a result, any trend they embrace spreads with greater momentum.

For example, in recent years, the popularity of felines has surged dramatically in Asian countries like China and Japan, and that has brought business opportunities. Never a company to miss out on a new opportunity, Starbucks launched a coffee mug with a cat paw shape in the spring of 2019. That paw-shaped mug quickly became the hottest trend in China. The“official” retail price of 199 RMB (30 USD) was already considered pricy. Yet the scalpers quickly boosted the number 4-5 times higher, and the mug was still almost impossible to get. All of this is a testimony to cat-lovers whose unstoppable passion provokes them to pay any price for it.

Although people who are allergy sufferers and apartment dwellers cannot own a cat, “Cat-aholics always find a way. They visit cat cafes, engage in “cloud petting” (think of “cloud computing”), or purchase a toy cat.

Qoobo is a Japanese toy brand that launched a toy with a fascinating concept called “tail therapy.” Qoobo is essentially a robotic cushion with a life-like cat tail. It interacts with people by reacting to stroking, patting, and rubbing, such that its wagging tail would comfort the owner just like a real cat does.

Aside from its proposed medical effectiveness, the toy offers a kind of therapy involving a lot of emotions and subjective feelings. It’s is a great marketing concept because it easily seduces Cat-Aholics with the message: “You are sick, so come and get the treatment with a swinging tail that gently sweeps over your skin.” This sounds very Gen Z and otaku-like (it is from Japan anyway). Yet, it offers an interesting angle to players in the toy industry because this area is still blue sea – a place filled with different human emotional needs waiting to be resonated.

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