Japan is the world’s second largest market for cosmetics and toiletries after the U.S. Japan has a long tradition of using cosmetics, and Japanese cosmetics manufacturers are highly competitive and sophisticated. The oldest Japanese cosmetics manufacturer, a major player in the industry, dates back to 1615. Japanese consumers today are known to be highly conscious of quality, product value, and the brands they buy and use.
The U.S. is the second largest exporter of cosmetics to Japan. U.S. manufacturers of cosmetics should keep an eye on the Japanese market as it offers competitive U.S. brands and products rewarding opportunities. Japan’s beauty and personal care product market in a broader sense is reportedly over 40% of the aggregate Asia Pacific markets. From the viewpoint of not only the size but also the trend and market demand, Japan can be regarded as a gateway to the Asian markets. Success in the Japan market can raise product/brand profile and visibility in other international markets, particularly in Asia.
Japanese consumers are very sophisticated and particular about the quality and safety of the products they buy and use. Products must be nicely designed, packaged and promoted. Their needs and tastes may change with seasonal trends and fashion changes, and they may be eager to try something new and different from time to time.
As described in more detail in the Best Prospects section, mainstream products are anti-aging, skin lightening, and skin moisturizing cosmetics and toiletries. High performance and quick-acting skincare products, including for specific parts of the body, or those cosmetics with multi/complex functional ingredients such as “doctor’s cosmetics,” are also popular items. Furthermore, organic or natural products, luxury products, and unique or branded products are in demand in the marketplace. Men’s skincare and personal care products are drawing an increasing amount of attention in the marketplace in Japan.
By Chris Y. Ono