Changing consumer calls
Yuiko Mitani, Research Analyst at Euromonitor International outlines growth potential of the natural segment in the market in its 'Tapping into organic/natural beauty opportunities in Japan' blog.
Although Japan is Asia’s second largest beauty market, the natural and organic arena remains largely untapped. Increasingly, however, companies are actively promoting their environmentally-conscious product ranges by focusing on their natural and organic benefits.
Emotions and the importance of meaningful experiences are encouraging consumers to take an invested interest in natural and organic product ranges as authenticity, health and safety are proving key consumer concerns.
As the country makes strides away from mass consumption, questions over ingredient quality and efficacy, along with the safety and effectiveness of manufacturing processes in cosmetics require solutions.
In recent years, this assurance has come from the natural and organic segments, where ‘free from’ formulations have sought to maximise consumer confidence by using natural ingredients instead of previously-utilised artificial alternatives.
Global consumer skin care demands
Japanese beauty lovers view cosmetics applications as part of their overall holistic, mental and physical wellbeing.
In its 2016 Global Consumer Beauty Survey, Euromonitor International asked cosmetics consumers to identify their most desired product features in skin care products. Natural and organic items were ranked the fifth most important product characteristic in the globe with 26.5%.
Value for money (1), high quality (2), suited to or positioned for skin type (3) and functions and/or benefits(4) was above this demand with the importance of environmentally friendly and/or ethical benefits listed as number 12 out of 15, with 16.4%.
Japanese consumer skin care demands
At present, these product features are more desired by Japanese consumers as natural or organic claims, along with being environmentally friendly and/or ethical, have been selected by only 5.4% and 4.5% of Japanese respondents, respectively.
Consumer demands in Japan currently relate to whether products are: suited to skin type, value for money, high quality, from a strong brand and contain detailed claims labels, to name a few.
While there is ongoing interest in products that promote natural and organic properties, specific consumer needs remain vague as the segment continues to experience non-standardised definitions.
Euromonitor International emphasises how consumer confidence is stalled due to uncertain definitions and limitations. Japan lacks an official organic certificate relating to the cosmetics industry, as this currently only exists for food and drink.
Opportunities and drawbacks
Consumer awareness is positive, however, with extensive information and education relating to Japanese health and beauty. Global plants including lavender, rose and tea tree, along with ingredients from Japan such as indigenous herbs, rice and yuzu citrus are increasingly being featured in formulations.
Japanese brand Kose has expanded and released its Nature & Co skin care and hair care name, along with Unilever Japan’s Lux range that contains ‘Luminique Botanical Pure’ shampoo and treatment.
While Japan is expected to see steady growth in coming years, with ongoing vagueness relating to definitions and competition from derma-cosmetics, Euromonitor emphasises that the biggest opportunity for Japanese brands sits with ingredient innovation for both the evolution of traditional and emerging ingredients.
Natural and organic cosmetics are also anticipated to take inspiration from popular food and drink options that also promote wellbeing including superfoods, fermented ingredients and probiotics.