After mentioning in a survey earlier this week about how smoking was my second-favourite survey topic, along comes this survey from DMSDRIVE Research Inc on my favourite topic in Japan, tooth care, in particular electric toothbrushes. As a bonus, this survey also touches on the use of this equipment by smokers.
Between the 20th and 27th of August 2008 9,029 memebers of the DIMSDRIVE monitor group completed a private online questionnaire. 51.6% of the sample were female, 1.2% in their teens, 13.4% in their twenties, 33.8% in their thirties, 29.9% in their forties, 14.9% in their fifties, and 6.8% aged sixty or older. As a bonus statistic, 27.2% were current smokers, 19.3% ex-smokers, and 53.5% had never smoked.
Note that Sunstar make cheap-and-cheerful battery-operated toothbrushes that they sell alongside their manual counterparts in almost all pharmacies and supermarkets, where as all the other manufacturers make proper brushes.
I have a Braun Oral-B that I bought with points from a credit card, but I only use it at the weekends as cleaning and drying after every use during the week is too much bother!
Q1: Have you used an electric toothbrush? (Sample size=9,092)
Currently use 19.4% Used to use 38.0% Never used (to Q9) 42.6%
Older people were more likely to have used electric brushes, and although there were more current male users than female users, the number of ex-users were higher for females, a bit of a curious statistic. Smokers were slightly more likely to use than those who had never smoked, but there was almost no difference between current and ex-smoker rates.
Q2: Why did you think you ought to try using an electric toothbrush? (Sample size=5,223, multiple answer)
Seemed to brush thoroughly 40.5% Seemed it would feel good to use 28.6% Worried that my current brush left bits unbrushed 28.5% Wanted to try (was interested in one) 28.1% Worried about plaque, tartar 27.0% Was cheap 25.7% Seemed to brush reliably even with poor technique 20.9% Worried teeth were dirty, had yellow spots 16.5% Got it as a present 14.8% Worried about bad breath, mouth odour 11.4% Family, friends recommended it 10.6% Had gum disease 9.0% Just saw it in a shop 7.2% Has dental caries (decay) 5.0% Seemed it would brush softly, gently 4.9% Television, newspaper, magazine, etc recommended it 3.9% Dentist, specialist recommented it 3.7% Seemed easy to brush with brace, bridge, etc 1.2% Shop assistant recommended it 0.8% Other 1.7% No particular reason 3.6%
All ex-users now skipped to the question between Q8 and Q9.
Q3: Who is the maker of your current electric toothbrush? (Sample size=1,764)
Braun (Oral-B) 26.2% National/Panasonic (Dolts, etc) 23.0% Philips (Sonicare) 12.6% Omron Health Care (Mediclean, etc) 11.3% Toray (Ultima) 4.4% Sunstar (G.U.M) 4.3% Tescom (Blanca) 0.4% Sanyo (Hapish, etc) 0.3% Other 4.3% Don’t know 13.2%
Q4: Where did you purchase your current electric toothbrush? (Sample size=1,764)
Electrical superstore 43.1% Internet mail order, auction 16.3% Drug store 11.4% Discount store 3.6% Supermarket 3.5% Dentist, hospital 3.4% Home centre 3.2% Small electrical shop 11.1% LOFT, Tokyu Hands, etc 0.7% Department store 0.5% Variety shop 0.2% Other 2.2% Don’t know 1.0% Didn’t buy it myself (to Q6) 9.8%
Panasonic the maker was most often bought at electrical superstores, Philips and Toray tops two for internet purchasing, and Sunstar top by far at drug stores and supermarkets.
Q5: About how much did you pay for your current electric toothbrush? (Sample size=1,575)
Up to 999 yen 5.8% 1,000 to 2,999 yen 16.4% 3,000 to 4,999 yen 16.4% 5,000 to 7,999 yen 10.9% 8,000 to 9,999 yen 12.9% 10,000 to 14,999 yen 17.5% 15,000 to 19,999 yen 6.0% 20,000 yen or more 2.5% Don’t know, can’t remember 11.6%
Q6: What did you reference when selecting your current electric toothbrush? (Sample size=1,764, multiple answer)
Looked at product in store 42.9% Maker’s web site 16.3% Other internet site 14.1% Catalogue, pamphlet 12.7% Television 8.8% Family, friend’s recommendation 7.6% Shop staff’s recommendation 6.4% Dentist’s, doctor’s, specialist’s recommendation 5.9% Magazine 3.7% Newspaper 2.9% Hospital leaflet, poster, etc 1.3% Other 0.9% Didn’t reference anything 21.3%
By maker, interestingly Philips was the one most often recommended by dentists and other specialists, with 19.3% of purchasers hearing about it that way, over four times the rate of the next. Toray was most often discovered via the internet, with 35.1% referencing unofficial sources, but it was also top for purchasers referring to the official home page, catalogues, and television.
Q7: Which of the following points influenced you when selecting your current electric toothbrush? (Sample size=1,764, multiple answer)
Cheap 32.4% Maker, brand 29.3% Has ultrasonic feature 22.3% Rapid, powerful brush strokes 19.5% Extra brushes are cheap 15.0% High-class, high functionality item 12.6% Easy to hold grip 10.l9% Brush way of movement 10.4% Tartar removal, whitening, other features 10.4% Gets right to the hard-to-reach parts 8.8% Has pronounced “just brushed” feel 7.7% Gentle on teeth 7.3% Brush head materials, softness, shape, etc 7.2% Quiet 5.2% Can choose brushing mode, length 3.7% Selection of different heads 3.1% Design, mascot character 2.2% Has water spray 1.0% Built-in navi system, gatope-za- 1.0% Infrared disinfectant system 0.3% Other 3.4% Nothing in particular 5.9% Didn’t choose it myself 12.4%
Toray users chose theirs for the ultrasonic feature, which, when taken along with the previous question, suggests that the word-of-mouth effect, therefore the quality (or at least the sense of quality) of the cleaning given by their brushes is very high. I want to look into them too!
Q8: How satisified are you with your current electric toothbrush? (Sample size=1,764)
Completely satisfied 15.5% Somewhat satisfied 64.1% Can’t say either way 16.7% Somewhat dissatisfied 2.7% Very dissatisfied 1.0%
Given the previous question results, surprisingly it was not Toray but Philips who had the highest percentage of users completely satisfied, but adding together both degrees of satisfaction it was actually Panasonic who came out tops! Toray also had the second-highest percentage of neutral users, but no negative feedback at all.
By price, the more people paid the more likely they were to be totally satisfied.
Unfortunately, at this point there was an error in the report, and although a summary of the question “Why did you stop using an electric toothrush?”, asked to the 3,459 ex-users, was printed, the full results were not. The summary was as follows.
The top reason (multiple answers allowed) for quitting was that brushing was more difficult than they thought it would be, with 35.0% citing this reason. Next, 28.4% felt more satisfied doing it by hand, 28.1% found it all just too much of a bother, 22.5% disliked having to buy extra brush heads, and 22.3% felt the price of the extra heads was too high. For the last two answers regarding buying spare brushes, I wonder how big the intersection between the 22.5% and the 22.3% was.
Now, the last question was for those who had never used an electric toothbrush according to Q1.
Q9: Do you want to use an electric toothbrush in the future? (Sample size=3,869)
Really want to use 13.2% Perhaps want to use 41.2% Can’t say either way 23.3% Perhaps don’t want to use 13.6% Don’t want to use at all 8.7%