Beauty and personal care products in Japan experienced a decline in
sales in 2009, driven by the country's rapid descent into recession. As a
result, Japanese consumers quickly changed their spending patterns,
saving where they could by trading down and looking for bargains as well
as being more economical with the products they had already purchased.
Premium products have lost popularity, resulting in a value decline of
4% in 2009. Losses were particularly prevalent in skin care due to the
emergence of masstige products, with consumers generally seeking better
value goods. Premium products have attempted to counteract this
situation by providing consultation services to their customers in order
to add value to their products. Other big beauty names have looked to
overseas expansion to drive growth in their businesses. For example,
Shiseido is in the process of implementing a plan to expand in
neighbouring Asian markets.
It’s not all doom and gloom in Japan however. Japanese sensitivity to
body odour has been a key factor in promoting sales of deodorants,
registering 3% value growth in 2009.
In addition, with the ageing of the Japanese population, anti-ageing
products have become popular and product lines have been expanded to
appeal to older (over 40 years of age) and younger (under 30 years of
age) consumers as a form of prevention. Consumers are expected to
continue to focus on anti-ageing benefits over the next few years, with
mass products developing better and more affordable formulas.
So what’s next for Japan? Despite the silver linings, beauty and
personal care is set to post a further decline of US$2 billion by 2014
due to lingering weak consumer confidence following the recession. Hit
worst of all will be the key premium cosmetics segment as consumers
continue to trade down to cheaper brands.
The burning questions now are whether the all-important premium
segment will be able to rebound and how Japanese purchasing behaviour,
altered by the events of 2008 and 2009, will effect future cosmetic