Nitori's blanket neatly laid on the bed

“Smartphone Blanket” Goes Viral in Japan

As energy costs soar in Japan, home goods that conserve power draw interest. Thicker clothing substitutes heating. Seeking further warmth minus electric bills, Nitori developed its “Smartphone Blanket.” The concept combined warming necessities with modern phone fixation.

True to its name, the blanket lets users operate smartphones while wrapped inside. Two holes on top enable hand and arm passage for phone functionality with the core and shoulders covered—this traps body heat. Three fabric choices provide varied insulation.

Nitori's Smartphone Blanket

(Image from Nitori's Official Website)

The 2,490 yen (17.34 USD) “N Warm” model delivers a base level. “N Warm Super” is warmer at 3,490 yen (24.30 USD). The most intense is the 5,090 yen (35.44 USD) “N Warm Double Super.”

Hole placement also prevents shifting during tosses, turns, or side sleeping. Cold air gaps are minimized if correctly positioned with an oversized 150cm (59 inches) width and 200cm (78 inches) length. The blanket works in a chair or lying down while clothed.

Smartphone Blanket Born Thanks to "Kaimaki"

According to a Nitori spokesperson, the blanket simply aimed to satisfy consumers wanting phone use inside a warming cocoon. Chest and shoulder exposure from arm movements proved dissatisfying. Solving this common irritation came from an unlikely source - referencing centuries-old Japanese bedding.

Emoor's kaimaki blanket

(Image from Emoor's Official Website)

In Japan, “kaimaki” bedding has long offered all-over insulation. Shaped like a kimono with raised collar and sleeves, kaimaki covers bodies to the shoulder. But in modern, well-sealed homes, kaimaki thickness and sleeves interfere with restful sleep. So, Nitori pursued more accessible alternatives.

The most crucial element was arm-hole execution. Numerous prototypes refined hole size, angle, border finish, and exact positioning. It took six months to finalize the design.

When launched last winter, its clever novelty earned social media applause. Despite 2022’s atypically warm winter, sales momentum continues.

Winning Over Middle-Aged Consumers

While mainly targeting younger generations immersed in phones before bed, the blanket also attracted unexpected fans. Shoppers in their 40s and 50s demonstrate support too. This broad age appeal surprised marketers.

Nitori's Combination of a Gaming Chair and Smartphone Blanket

(Image from Nitori's Official Website)

Beyond sole sales, Nitori offers a 17,080 yen (118.93 USD) smartphone blanket and gaming chair set. The gaming chair adapts to gaming or computer use through engineered features optimizing each activity. This aligns with dual purposes often confused.

Since entering gaming furniture in 2019, Nitori scored hit products. The gaming chair’s full recline also enables totally flat smartphone blanket use. As last winter’s launch showed, Nitori’s receptive middle-aged buyers indicate continued potential for this inventive pairing.

Targeting Modern Lifestyles

Nitori’s solutions aim to incorporate technology into living smoothly. While respecting traditional techniques, the company carves fresh niches. The smartphone blanket merged classic bedding wisdom with the convenience that many secretly craved. Along the way, it expanded beyond the young to attract broad interest.

With long winters ahead, Nitori’s viral sensation retains buzz. The blanket embodies Japanese efficiency – warming bodies endangered by brisk ambient air while enabling additional amusement inside.

As the planet faces unstable energy access and supply ahead, the blanket’s low-power insulation grants visionary preparation. Beyond profit motives, Nitori’s problem-solving spirit offers ideas for improving daily life. Its responsive products reward modern challenges with empathy.

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