Thanks to a cheaper yen and the influx of tourists from neighbouring South Korea and China (where disposable incomes are on the rise), tourist figures in Japan are soaring, and this is having a positive knock-on impact onto retail sales.
In 2013, tourists spent $14 billion in the country, and with the strong growth in visitor numbers already seen this year, that figure looks set to rise steeply for 2014.
Department stores – key retailers of cosmetics in Japan – have been profiting from the rise, with Japan's department stores association recently noting that duty-free spending at 46 stores across the country jumped 54% in April, compared with the previous year.
Cosmo buyers amongst the highest spenders
A recent survey by the Japan Tourism Agency revealed that 38.5% of tourists who visited Japan bought cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, making them the third most commonly bought item after food and confectionery.
The average amount spent on cosmetics and pharmaceutical products was ¥20,270 (USD $205.52). Visitors from China were the highest spenders, with 68.4% purchasing and an average spending of ¥34,521 (USD $350.01).
Taiwan and Thailand tourists also featured prominently in purchasers of cosmetics, with 62.8% and 42.3% purchasing and average spending being ¥16,406 and ¥15,921 respectively.
The same study revealed that 3% of the ¥1.09 trillion spent by tourists each year was allocated to shopping.
Ambitions for more
Tourism in Japan is becoming increasingly important for the country’s economy; as it ages, its population is predicted to decrease by 10 million people by 2030, according to Reuters, and the government has its sights set on incoming consumers via tourism to plug this gap.
In order to meet this goal, Japan is considering such visitor-enticing measures as making visa more accessible, and legalising casinos.
For now it seems like the country is on track to meet its aim of boosting tourism, with the recent figures pointing to healthy continued growth.