Problem solvers: More mask-friendly product launches aiding recovery of make-up spend in Japan

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

New product launches helping Japanese consumers adopt more mask-friendly cosmetic habits. [Getty Images]
New product launches helping Japanese consumers adopt more mask-friendly cosmetic habits. [Getty Images]

Related tags Mask Japan

Japanese consumers appear to be slowly increasing their expenditure on make-up as more new product launches help them adopt more mask-friendly cosmetic habits, according to a new report.

Owned by Japanese beauty retail and media firm istyle Inc, @cosme is a cosmetic portal that has amassed over 15 million product reviews from around 16 million monthly visitors.

Since launching in 1999, it has spun off into a retail business that has an offline and online presence in markets such as Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand.

The first bi-annual survey was conducted on 10,000 @cosme members in May this year. The results showed that the cosmetic habits of consumers continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2021.

According to the results, more than half (52.8%) of members reported increasing their expenditure on skin care. Only 9.1% said their spending decreased, while 38.1% said there was no change in their spending.

This was in line with the consumer trends observed by @cosme in 2020, which saw a focus on skin care due to increased self-care at home and the skin irritation caused by frequent mask use.

On the other hand, 39% of members said their make-up expenditure decreased owing to the pandemic, while 24.5% said their spending increased. 36.5% reported no change in expenditure.

However, the decrease was not as sharp as those reported in May and October last year, where more than half spent, indicating a slight recovery in make-up spending.

@cosme attributed the need for make-up to the increasing social gatherings as the pandemic restrictions ease in Japan.

It noted that almost half (49.2%) of respondents remarked that they were worried about the state of their complexions now that they were socialising more.

Mask-friendly products wanted

These trends were reflected in the latest @cosme Best Cosmetics Award for new launches, which was well-balanced between skin care and make-up items.

The @cosme Best Cosmetics Award is a bi-annual ranking that is announced in the middle and end of the year. The line-up of award-winning products is based on product reviews and opinions of @cosme members in Japan.

From an analysis of over half a million reviews on the new products released from November 2020 to April 2021, the top 10 products were found to be those that had mask-friendly functions.

For instance, ELIXIR Balancing Mizu Cream has been popular among consumers for its ability to keep acne at bay while moisturising the skin.

Both lip make-up products that made the rankings were lip tints that are meant to stain the lips and leave long-lasting colour without transferring onto masks.

@cosme suggested that the popularity of long-lasting and often hard-to-remove lip tints may have contributed to the need for lip care products like the Canmake’s Plump Lip Care Scrub, which was awarded the Grand Prize.

With more cosmetic products catering to the use of protective face masks, more consumers (77%) have reported becoming used to ‘mask life’ compared to six months before (68%).

However, while more product launches have been targeting mask-related issues, there are still not enough such products in the market and manufacturers can capitalise on this gap, said @cosme.

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