Shoppers from China & Taiwan boost Japan duty-free sales

By Michelle Yeomans contact

- Last updated on GMT

Shoppers from China & Taiwan boost Japan duty-free sales
The Japanese government is easing up on visa rules and expanding the scope of duty-free shopping as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in 2020.

The government hopes to attract 20 million tourists by the time Toyko hosts the Games, cutting as much red tape as possible so that shoppers will flock to the country.

The plan seems to be working as, according to Shigeto Kubo, Japan Tourism Agency commissioner; around 18 million foreign passengers visited this year, up from 13.41 million last year.

In the first half of 2015, the number of Chinese travelers more than doubled from a year earlier to 2.18 million, followed by 1.82 million from South Korea and 1.79 million from Taiwan.

The cosmetics sector and other consumer goods are set to see a big difference in sales growth figures thanks to this surge in visitors.

Japanese cosmetics are already a popular tourist purchase with, for example, over 90% of Chinese tourists buying them.

Alongside this growth, the government hopes to double the number of duty free shops to around 10,000 by encouraging shops outside the major cities to apply for relevant permission.

Most duty free stores are currently located in the Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka regions.

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.  Foreign visitor numbers in Japan were 8.37m in 2012, an increase of 34.6% the previous year, with the Japanese National Tourist Organization setting a target number of 10m tourists for 2013.

Related topics: Market Trends, East Asia

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