Japanese cosmetics players eye lucrative tourist spend

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Japanese cosmetics players eye lucrative tourist spend

Related tags Japan Cosmetics

In Japan long-term economic stagnancy has impacted consumer spend to the point where any growth potential is jumped upon. And right now tourists are scrambling for Japanese cosmetics.

A combination of innovation and quality is what generally attracts tourists to make purchases of Japanese-made cosmetics when they come to visit Japan.

That and the fact that they are reasonably inexpensive, relatively small in size, and pretty easy to pack into the suitcase and bring them back home, either as gifts for friends and family, or as a personal indulgence.

Japanese cosmetics are good value

Company’s such as Pola Orbis and Kose are recognized global brands for many foreign travellers to Japan, and are also readily available in retail outlets throughout the country, as well as duty free.

Then there is Shiseido. The name is held in high esteem by most international consumers and many of the brands are global, so they are highly recognized.

On top of that, after years of devaluation in the strength of the Japanese Yen against foreign currency, it also means that these premium, good quality cosmetics often represent much better value for consumers if they pick them up while on their vacation to the country.

Recognising the potential of tourist spend

The leading Japanese cosmetics and personal care players are recognizing the potential strength of this tourist spend in the country, and are now actively courting this market.

Shiseido, which recently cautioned that full year sales figures are likely to fall short of expectations, announced in the same instance that it is expecting to see sales from tourists in the country to rise by around 30% during the fiscal year 2016, to reach ¥34 billion.

To encourage this growth potential, the company has added more languages to tablets being used to demonstrate products at sales booths, while the use of English on product labels has been boosted on some of the more popular brands.

Tapping into Chinese tourist spend

Similarly Polar Orbis says that it foresees sales of cosmetics to tourists in Japan increase by 30 – 40% this year  to reach ¥13 – 14 billion in 2016.

It is interesting to note that in answer to this spike in sales, Polar Orbis has responded by increasing the number of Chinese-speaking staff available at its consumers outlets in key areas through the country, a policy that reflects the fact that the majority of the increase in cosmetic sales is being driving by consumers from China.

This very much reflects the story in Korea, where a significant spike in cosmetics and personal care products is being driven by Chinese visitors to the country, many of whom stock up on significant quantities of products, either for friends or family, or to sell on.

In July of this year, statistics from the Japan National Tourism Organization showed that a record 741,000 Chinese tourists visited Japan, with the statistics showing the importance of female travelers who are specifically buying cosmetics items to take back home.

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