Shiseido, Kao and Kosé dominate local market in Japan but e-commerce needs boost


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Shiseido, Kao and Kosé dominate local market in Japan but e-commerce needs boost

Related tags Trade Japan

Local companies Shiseido, Kao, and Kosé are dominating Japan’s beauty industry as they better engage consumers, although global brands are leading when it comes to e-commerce adoption.

According to L2’s newly released Digital IQ Index: Japan Beauty, the three local conglomerates control 34% of the country’s skin care and 43% of the colour cosmetics market; with six of the top 10 brands as ranked by L2 based in Japan.

The digital analyst’s latest report states that brands are having to make big efforts in what is a stagnant market, and this shows as only 21 companies are rated as ‘Gifted’ or above on L2’s scale.

This is because Japan is a unique market in that colour cosmetics are projected to decline by 0.2% between 2013 and 2018 and skin care sales are expected to grow by just 0.1%, according to Euromonitor figures.


Therefore brands have to do what they can to get ahead of one another, in what is a fiercely competitive marketplace.

For local brands, they must use their local knowledge and reach, and leverage loyalty programs and the local platform LINE to engage consumers.

Loyalty programs are more common across Asian markets than in Western markets; and local brands outmaneuver their global competitors in terms of online loyalty programs, with 82% offering these programs, compared with just 47% of global brands.

However, Global brands maintain a lead in e-commerce adoption in Japan, while local brands concentrate on these programs.

L’Oreal and Estée Lauder are leading the pack with the ‘Gifted’ Digital IQs, according to L2, as Global brands have a higher e-commerce adoption rate than local brands, 71% vs. 56%.

Overall 62% of Beauty brands sell online in Japan, the same as in China but lagging other mature markets such as Korea, the US, and the UK. 

Related topics Market Trends East Asia

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