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Japan Market Reports

Japan Market Outline 2007

Japan’s Retail Market Is The 2nd Biggest Worldwide

Nine Year Market Increase Due To Ease Of Regulations

Distribution System

New Opportunities For Cosmetics Makers

Increased Popularity Of Imported Products

Seido-Hin And Ippan-Hin

Main Market Trends

Solutions On Entering Japan’s Market

© G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Report References & Editors

Cosmetics in Japan

Japan Market Outline 2007

current market Japan’s cosmetic market ...

conditions  is the 2nd biggest worldwide
 increased by 170% on imported cosmetics since 2000
 changed PAL (Pharmaceutical Affairs Law) in April 2005
 is strict on importation and labelling guidelines
 has its main market in skin-care-items (~45%): cleansers, crèmes, lotions, bath
items, gels, serums (effective substances), increasingly popular: beauty
machinery, skin patches, spa & massage products, organic & natural cosmetics

market in general Japan’s cosmetic market is ...

 highly potential - but highly competitive
 slightly higher in its retail prices than other markets (US, EU)
 different in its distribution and retail system (than US, EU)
 different in ways to market and advertise a product or a brand

tastes & trends of Japanese cosmetic consumers prefer ...

Japanese  products of foreign manufacturers (to local, except the big 5)
 products with very high quality (to lower mass market items)
 products of smaller product sizes than in US or EU (size, weight)
 products from well-sounding brands (name, image)
 products with skin-caring ingredients (Japanese consumers do have
well understanding about ingredients, preservatives, etc)
 product contents that are jelly, soft, mild and smooth
 products with little smell (less use of fragrances)
 products with bright and light packaging (colours, weight, size)
 products with natural ingredients (to chemical ingredients based items)
 brands that steadily introduce new products
 brands with excellent customer services (store, after-sales-services, etc)

2 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

Decision makers from Japanese esthetic, nail, and chain salons,

import trading companies, distributors, retailers and manufacturers are
always on the search for innovative products, latest techniques, and
newly-introduced services to be introduced to Japan.

Japan’s retail market is the 2nd biggest worldwide

Japan is the second-largest cosmetics market in the world after only the
U.S.A. According to statistics released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade
and Industry, the size of the Japanese cosmetics market reached US$12.5
billion/Euro 9.4 billion (ex-factory) in 2006.

Today, treatments and services offered by esthetic salons are proactively

introduced into other related facilities such as medical institutions,
fitness clubs, and amusement facilities.

Meanwhile the recent booming Spa market and the introduction of the
market for men's beauty-related goods and services are making Japanese
beauty market further enticing and expanding.

In 2006, the number of esthetic salons in Japan counted about 18,000

and still the Japanese beauty market keeps showing steady growth.

Successful introduction of your products and services to Japan

additionally offers you the chance to expand your business beyond the
Japanese beauty market.

3 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

According to the Cosmetic Importers Association of Japan,

Japanese imports of cosmetic products reached around JPY 165.4 billion /
US$1.38 billion / Euro1.03 billion (ex-factory) in 2006. This is an increase
of 1.1% compared with 2005.

The volume of import cosmetic products has been increasing for nine
consecutive years since 1998.

Nine year market increase due to ease of regulations

One major factor behind the rising value of import cosmetic is the
deregulation of cosmetics imports in 2001. Another factor is that more
retailers than before outside cosmetics specialty stores are carrying
import cosmetic products, such as large drugstores, convenience stores,
general merchandise stores, variety shops and select shops.

In order to make use of various channels, over 1,000 import-cosmetics

companies are keenly looking for new products and sophisticated foreign

Due to strict import regulations, the Japanese market has long been
considered a difficult one for foreign suppliers. Starting from 2001, new
rules for import cosmetics are consistent with international standards.

Prior approval for each individual product is not required, so that

products containing ingredients already approved in Japan can be
imported by just making a filing with the local prefectural government.

4 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

Japanese cosmetics manufacturers can be classified into those that sell directly through their shops,
those that sell through wholesalers, and those that sell door-to-door.

Distribution System
Importers & Wholesalers

Consumer cosmetics preferences are showing a clear polarization to products that offer clear functional benefits (e.g.,
lipsticks that do not rub off easily, skin care products that fights aging and provide protection against ultraviolet rays)
on one hand and products that are inexpensive but may not provide noticeable benefits on the other hand. Such clear
needs or price orientation with no middle ground is leading to changes in the traditional retail and distribution setup.
Retailers are forced to choose personal counseling and other value-added services to justify the higher prices or to
shift to a self-service system for providing lower prices.

Some importers distribute products through wholesalers, while others sell directly to retailers (e.g., department stores,
supermarkets, drugstores). Few wholesalers also conduct business directly with overseas manufacturers, and some
overseas manufacturers sell limited-edition products only to select department stores to target upscale customers.
Cosmetics are rarely handled by the major trading houses.

5 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

Door-to-Door Distribution

Overseas manufacturers selling door-to-door operate in much the same manner as their Japanese counterparts.
Offices across Japan distribute the merchandise to salespersons, usually women, who sell the products from their
Most overseas manufacturers start by distributing the products through an authorized Japanese agent to specialty
shops and department stores. After making some headway, the manufacturers then set up branch offices or Japanese

The removal of the resale price maintenance system and increased demand coming from younger consumers have led
to the decline in consulting sales. Consumers now exercise their own judgment in choosing the products. This has
resulted in increased cosmetics sales through mass retailers and direct mail.

6 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

New Opportunities For Cosmetics Makers

It is reputed to be very difficult for foreign cosmetics manufacturers to

access the Japanese market. Indeed, Japanese companies hold almost 70
percent of their home market, with the leading five manufacturers
(Shiseido, Kao, Kanebo Cosmetics, Kose and Pola), accounting for almost
49 percent of total value sales.

However, cosmetics imports have steadily progressed during the last

decade and a detailed analysis of the Japanese market shows new
opportunities for cosmetics makers.

Japan is the third largest cosmetics market after the European Union and
the United States. According to the European Cosmetic, Toiletry and
Perfumery Association, the Japanese market reached a volume of JPY 2,239
billion in 2004 at manufacturing/ex-factory sale prices (MSP). At retail sale
prices (RSP), total cosmetics and toiletries sales grew by 1% to JPY 3,323
billion in 2004, according to estimates.

Cosmetics and toiletries have an important penetration rate. Japan is

ranked only behind Norway globally in terms of per capita annual sales,
with an average of USD 241 spent per person on these products in 2004.
Certain cosmetics and toiletries are considered as essential, and
consumers remain willing to spend on them even when the economic
outlook is poor. Women consider some items as a must during their daily
skin care regime, and wearing at least a little make-up when going out
remains part of the culture in Japan.

The importance of cosmetics in the daily beauty regime of Japanese

7 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

women, as well as the growing interest of men in grooming

products specially formulated for their needs, may explain
that although the Japanese economy is experiencing only a rather
slow recovery following a lengthy recession, cosmetics and toiletries
sales have not been unduly affected by this weak performance.

Face and body care products form the main and the most dynamic
segment. Skin care products have been growing at an average of 5% each
year since 2002. It is also the segment where competition is at the
highest levels. The make-up segment has been relatively stable over the
recent years, despite a succession of negative and positive years. Hair
care products, the third main market segment, have been decreasing
constantly since 2000 but just recovered last year.

Foreign manufacturers may note with interest that despite their relatively
small market share (2 percent of the total) fragrances may constitute a
good opportunity for them. Contrary to other segments, the competition
from domestic manufacturers is relatively lower. "Major domestic
cosmetics companies have historically invested limited effort in
fragrances, instead concentrating on other sectors.

Japanese manufacturers usually do not have a wide range of fragrances

in their portfolio and they usually propose them at prices slightly
cheaper than foreign fragrances. Many Japanese consumers strongly
associate fragrances to the Western way of life and therefore prefer top
foreign fragrance brands. Since the size of the Japanese fragrances
market is still very small compared to the domestic cosmetics market, it
is costly to create new fragrances exclusively for the Japanese market.
More than 95 percent of premium fragrances sold in Japan would be
non-domestic brands.

8 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

Increased popularity of imported products

Since the implementation of the new cosmetics law in 2005 (PAL), the
accessibility to the Japanese cosmetic market has greatly improved. Even
if incomplete, the regulatory harmonisation with cosmetic rules
governing cosmetic products in the European Union allowed to reduce
red tape and to decrease administrative costs.

As mentioned above, cosmetics imports have steadily progressed during

the last decade. According to the U.S. Commercial Service, Japan's
imports of cosmetics products increased by 9.4 percent in 2004. The
share of imports compared to domestic production, which also includes
the production by local subsidies of foreign multinationals, reached 11.3
percent in 2004. According to the Cosmetic Importers Association of
Japan, imports of cosmetics products have been progressing at an
average rate of 9.5 percent since 2001. Skin care, make-up and hair care
products account for 70 percent of these imports.

France and the United States are the main foreign suppliers of cosmetic
products in Japan. The two countries contribute 60 percent of the total of
imports. Other main suppliers are China, Italy, the United Kingdom and

The most recent figures show that the total of imports slightly decreased
during the first semester of 2005 compared to 2004. Main suppliers
were affected very differently; imports from the US and the UK have
decreased by 6.5 percent and 22.4 percent respectively, while France and
China progressed.

9 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

Despite the progress of foreign brands on the Japanese

market, it is important to note that while exporting to Japan,
foreign cosmetic makers have to cope with the complexity of the
Japanese market. Even if the regulations have been simplified, the
difference between products classified as cosmetics and those classified
as quasi-drugs may turn into a headache for those falling in the latter
category. It is also very important not to underestimate the importance of
the language and cultural barriers. For instance, Japanese women, as
most Asiatic women, consider their skin to be of a very different type
than European ones. This is a very important fact to take into
consideration, from product development to communication and

seido-hin and ippan-hin

Another impediment is the complexity of distribution channels and

business practices in Japan. Retail channels in Japan are usually divided
in two main categories: seido-hin (selective/prestige channel) and ippan-
hin (mass channel).

The first category, which includes department stores, voluntary chain

stores (franchised stores) and certain high-end chain drugstores, is
supplied directly from domestic manufacturers, the subsidiaries of
foreign manufacturers or the importer. There are neither wholesalers nor
distributors involved and this implies trained local staff to manage sales
and logistics. As far as department stores are concerned, they usually
only take care of providing space to selected brands.

When they install a sales area in a department store, cosmetics companies incur substantial costs. In addition to
decoration and other expenses, they also have to shoulder sales staff and advertising costs. These costs and business
habits are usually considered an obstacle to the entry of new brands in this channel.

10 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

On the other hand, the mass channel (ippan-hin) is usually supplied from independent wholesalers. Other
retail channels include door-to-door selling, direct selling and sales to professionals.

As far as sales results are considered, drugstores perform well and are now the most important distribution channel in
the country. Except for make-up, fragrances and skin care, they are leading the distribution of all products in the
sector. Large multi-storey drugstores selling complementary products, such as health and diet foods, as well as
cosmetics and toiletries and OTC medicines have been replacing small local pharmacies and the fierce competition
between the various chains leads to a strong pressure on retail prices. These Japanese chained drugstores are usually
located in very convenient places such as next to railway stations and inside large shopping malls. Alternatively, they
are located in out-of-town developments with large car parks.

Direct sales and door-to-door channels, which used to be the most popular distribution channels for cosmetics and
toiletries, continue to see a decline in value share. According to JETRO this is to be explained by a change in social
structures. "More women are staying in work after marriage, which is limiting recruitment of the sales personnel
needed for door-to-door sales, as well as the number of consumers who are at home when such personnel call.
Consumers also prefer to shop at retail outlets such as convenience stores and drugstores, where a wider range of
products is available."

Department stores have been strongly affected by the competition of chain drugstores, which have extended their
offer of certain skin care and make-up items and have benefited from the increasing consumer preference for self-
service, rather than counter-service. "The increasing strength of competing channels makes it unlikely that department
stores will increase their share dramatically in the future. The only sector in which department stores will continue to
dominate will be fragrances, where there remain very few alternative channels for purchasing premium fragrance
brands," forecasts the CIAJ.

11 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

Main market trends

Within the very specific Japanese environment, there are several trends and opportunities to take advantage of for
cosmetics makers. Ageing is certainly the strongest characteristic of the Japanese society today. More than 30 percent
of the population is over 60 years old already, and the country has one of the most rapidly ageing populations in the

Ageing is likely to boost sales in certain sectors such as hair dyes (75% of hair colours value sales were accounted for
by products to cover grey hair in 2003) or premium skin care products. As in many other countries, Japanese women
and a growing proportion of men are ready to pay premium prices for products that can visibly reduce the external
signs of ageing. "Developing specialised products targeting middle-aged and older consumers and branding that
elevates companies and products above the competition will likely yield successful results, since middle-aged and
older consumers in Japan are generally loyal customers who do not easily change from one brand to another."

Spas, hot springs and sea therapies are also take advantage from the ageing of the Japanese population. There is a
strong traditional habit of sea baths in Japan and baths in volcanic hot water springs are also appreciated for their
health benefits. The Japanese government recently proposed financial incentives for the
development of activities that could both address health needs of the population and
contribute to the development of certain regional areas: hot springs and sea therapies are
included in the scheme.

In one of its latest reports, also identified as the following trends:

- continuing interest for whitening products, as a fair complexion is still perceived as an

important aspect of beauty;

- decreasing use of lighter tones for bleaching hair;

- polarisation of products, with the increased popularity of upper premium at one end,
and other consumers (or the same consumers but for other products) more inclined to opt
for mass products.

12 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

Solutions on entering Japan’s market

Despite the high potentials of the Japanese cosmetic market, carefully planned and well-chosen strategies to
enter the market are obligatory to gain sustainable sales and market shares. In one hand, Japanese cosmetic
consumers are known to be quite choosy when selecting a purchase – on the other hand consumers are always
heading out for new products and brands, and are constantly on the search for the most innovative, fashionable and
new cosmetic item.

Entering Japan successfully is mainly an issue of the ability and willingness of the foreign brand and manufacturer to
adjust to the Japanese market requirements. Herewith it is important to estimate own strength and ability to perform
as required by consumers in Japan. If a clear strategy is set (product range, sales channels, marketing tools e.g.) and
the right partners to perform are found, potentially high sales can be achieved importing and marketing a foreign
cosmetic brand to Japan on a long-term basis.

Main questions before starting to enter Japan:

Ingredients 1. Are all products conform to the Japanese legal requirements (PAL)?
Business Type 2. Set up Japan branch -or- cooperate with a Japan distribution partner?
Sales Channels 3. Which channels are most suitable for sales in Japan (retail, hotels,
spas, salons, mail order, TV-shopping, internet, door-to-door, others)?

After running checks on the import ability of the products (concerning the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law Japan – issued
April 2005) to verify eligibility of imports, main issue should be to understand the importance of selecting a strategy
on entering the Japan market. Foreign brands usually select within one of the two main possibilities: (A) importing
through an importer / distributor or (B) establishing a Japan branch with Japanese staff. Both strategies include pro
and contra points.

13 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

Japan Branch/ Flagship-Store Japan Distribution Partner

Pro Pro
 ability to lead brand strategy in Japan  lower initial business cost
 higher profit margins Japan business  use of existing client base of JP partner
Contra Contra
 higher initial business cost  copyright protection issue
 longer market development period  JP partner’s in-house competing brands

After selecting the most suitable strategy for the foreign

manufacturer, a sales-channel and sales-performance-goal plan
for the first 3 years time of Japan distribution should be
developed and discussed intern / with the Japan partner. Here
again, strong and less strong points of the brand and its
products concerning the ‘Japanese consumer taste’ should be
fundamental within the strategically thinking and project

After the initial period, the manufacturer will register its

products through its Japan branch / with its Japan partner and
start sales through eligible venues in the Japan market. Also,
media and advertisement agencies will be contacted through the
manufacturers Japan branch / the Japan partner to start
effective campaigns - increasing annual sales in Japan and
developing steadily a well-known brand name and image among
Japanese consumers.

14 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.

Cosmetics in Japan

Report References & Editors

JETRO Japan External Trade Organization

TTC Tokyo Trade Center
MHLW Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare
METI Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
CIAJ Cosmetic Importers Association Japan
JCIA Japan Cosmetic Industry Association
JSCA Japan Cosmetic Supplier Association
JPMA Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association
JPWA Japan Pharmaceutical Wholesalers Association

G&S INT. LTD. Mr. Takahashi

6-4-13 Soshigaya G&S International Japan Representation
Tokyo Setagaya-ku Phone +81-80-5519-1260
157-0072 Japan Email contact@gs-int-ltd.com
Web www.gs-int-ltd.com

15 © G&S International Japan 2007. All rights reserved.