Japan consumers seek ‘mid-priced cosmetics’ amid price hikes, weakened yen – new data

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

New data shows rising prices and weakened yen have influenced consumers to seek out products in the mid-price range. [Attenir]
New data shows rising prices and weakened yen have influenced consumers to seek out products in the mid-price range. [Attenir]

Related tags Japan Skin care masstige beauty

Rising prices and weak yen have influenced Japanese consumers to seek out products in the mid-price range, according to new data from the country.

Reviews assessed for @cosme’s Best Cosmetics Awards found increasing concern over price hikes in the first six months of the year, with the frequency of the phrase ‘price increase’ 2.1 times higher compared to last year.

At the same time, the appearance of the phrase ‘mid-range cosmetics’ has increased by 3.6 times compared to last year.

@cosme categorises mid-priced beauty as products priced over JPY2,000 (USD12.80).

Price sensitivity was reflected in the overall product rankings, which saw only two high-end brands Decorté and Kanebo make the cut.

On the other hand, four out of 10 products were from mid-priced brands, including the grand prize winner, Attenir.

Attenir, owned by Fancl Corporation, topped the rankings with its Skin Clear Cleansing Oil (JPY1,980)

The product was renewed for the first time in four years, adding skin barrier benefits to its cleansing abilities.

In addition, the product also won five more awards, including best cleanser. In terms of sales, it ranked number one in the cleansing category at @cosmeTOKYO.

According to @cosme, 36% of buyers continue to repurchase it after the first time.

The product was targeted at consumers aged 40 and above but it has also become popular with students and consumers in their 20s.

“Despite its high functionality and pleasant user experience, we have managed to keep the price under 2,000 yen through our diligent efforts. This positive gap between performance and price is one of our key strengths,” ​said Yoshihisa Hosaka, president and CEO, Attenir.

Mid-range skin care thrives

The preference for mid-priced products is most prevalent in the skin care category.

“In the cosmetics industry, affordable products are often perceived as having only moderate functionality. In reality, as users age and their skin concerns increase, those who previously used low-priced products tend to consider switching to higher-priced options. Conversely, users of high-priced products often limit their use to special occasions and may find it challenging to maintain regular usage,” ​Hosaka explained.

“We also understand that many customers prefer to keep their basic skin care routine affordable while occasionally incorporating high-end serums for targeted treatments.”

According to a consumer survey conducted by @cosme, 60.6% of respondents trust that mid-priced brands strike the right balance between price and quality.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the priority given to cosmetics has decreased, and there is a growing preference for lower-priced options. However, with a focus on the balance between price and quality, we believe that the products developed by Elixir, which has continuously researched collagen and ageing since its inception, have gained support,”​ said Naoki Yamaguchi, brand manager, Elixir, Shiseido Japan.

Elixir is a mid-range brand owned by J-beauty major Shiseido. According to the rankings, the brand’s Day Care Revolution Tone Up Base was the eighth most popular product in Japan.

Against this backdrop, the industry can expect more interest in mid-range cosmetics.

“With the rising cost of raw materials, many high-end brands are increasing their prices, which may lead to even tougher market conditions for these high-priced brands. As a result, mid-priced brands are likely to be reevaluated, potentially leading to increased competition within this segment,”​ said Hosaka.

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