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The Casio Mini Becomes a Huge Hit

The Casio Mini Becomes a Huge Hit
A Fusion of the Engineers’ Spirit and the Marketer’s Foresight
The Casio Mini Becomes a Huge Hit

A Fusion of the Engineers’ Spirit and the Marketer’s Foresight

Kazuo’s efforts pave the way for entry into the consumer market
The calculator market saw a series of new entrants beginning in 1964, igniting the “calculator wars.” The period of high economic growth saw new products with improved performance, a smaller size, and more affordable price tags.
Casio started to take note of the consumer market. Kazuo, who was in charge of sales and marketing, came up with the idea of selling calculators via stationary stores. Together with the launch of the AS-8, the first calculator priced under 40,000 yen, Casio formed the Casio Eight Association with stationery wholesalers throughout Japan. Thanks to Kazuo’s sales and marketing efforts, 50 leading stationery wholesalers and 30,000 affiliated stationery stores nationwide ended up participating.
Yukio’s inspiration
As they were seeking to enter the consumer market, they unexpectedly got a hint from bowling. In those days, Japan was experiencing an unprecedented bowling craze. Toshio, Kazuo, and Yukio themselves often went bowling after work. Scores used to be calculated by hand, which was a very tedious task. Yukio wondered whether it would be possible to make a small and affordable calculator for bowling. This was an idea fitting for an engineer like him. Yukio then worked with the Deputy General Manager of the development division to create a four-digit calculator with a price under 10,000 yen.
Eventually, Yukio succeeded in developing a calculator with a six-digit display that could display up to 12 digits at the push of a button, thus laying the foundation for the hit Casio Mini.
The foresight of Kazuo,
the marketer
Yukio brought the Casio Mini to Kazuo, the head of the sales and marketing division. Kazuo took one look at the product and said, “This is great. It will open up a new market for consumers. We can sell 100,000 units a month.” Calculators at the time were considered successful if they sold 10,000 units per a month. Kazuo was certain the device would be a big hit.
A majority of employees, however, thought the calculator would not sell well. Nevertheless, Kazuo, who had many years of sales and marketing experience, remained confident. He persuaded the executives opposed to the idea and launched the Casio Mini in August 1972.
The Casio Mini becomes
an unprecedented big hit
Kazuo was also bullish on pricing. He initially aimed for a calculator priced at less than 10,000 yen, but ultimately decided to set the price at 12,800 yen because of the improved six-digit display. Despite the price hike, the Casio Mini quickly achieved its sales target of 100,000 units per month and became a huge hit, selling one million units in less than a year. Kazuo’s prediction that the product would be a big seller had become reality.
The combination of Yukio’s engineering spirit in devising the Casio Mini and Kazuo’s talent as a marketer in foreseeing the mega hit enabled Casio to successfully open up an entire new market.
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