According to market analyst Euromonitor, price-sensitivity and a shift towards mass products caused by job insecurity and gloomy economic outlook accounted were the main reasons for the stalled sales.
Cosmetic products are considered resistant to downturns but contradicting this, Japanese consumers have consistently cut back on spending in recent years by shifting towards low-cost products, explained Euromonitor.
Likewise, for consumers still willing to pay extra for products such as skin care, the trend moved towards quality-driven products offering additional value.
Skin care is a defining product category within the cosmetics industry and in Japan, but following the recession there has been little indication of recovery, with 2010 sales of cosmetics and personal care products decling by one per cent decline in value, compared to the 2009 figure when sales fell by two per cent.
Shiseido remained the market leader for skin care in 2010, despite a two per cent decline in its sales compared to the previous year.
Sales of the Japanese cosmetics company’s mid- to high-end products stagnated, whereas its low-cost and mass brands sales increased, helpint to lift Shiseido’s share of the market.
Targeting mass consumers
In 2010, the company introduced a new brand targeted towards mass consumers, Senka, which showed strong growth following the launch.
The fact that Japanese consumers are being more selective when making purchases is likely to drive major manufacturers to launch brands and products targeting mass consumers, this in turn will intensify competition in mass skin care, according to Euromonitor.
Likewise, the anti-ageing category is expected to experience further growth as consumers become increasingly aware of their appearance and signs of ageing, which is combined with a willingness to spend more on effective products.
This means that premium brands with scientifically-backed efficacy claims are likely to have the most growth potential in this category.