According to a recently released report from Nikkei, Japanese brands are stepping up their efforts to capture Asia’s personal care and household product markets. Lion is expected to increase its Curel skincare product sales in Asia. Curel offers moisturizing products such as facial cleanser and shower gel. The brand plans to expand its Asian markets from six to 12 in the near future. Lion’s Clinica, an anti-cavity oral care brand, is ramping up production of products exclusively for the Chinese market. Osaka-based Sunstar also plans to expand the marketing of its GUM brand in China. GUM is shifting its target from medical and professional users to Tier 1 city consumer markets, positioning its products around periodontal disease prevention. Kanebo, a cosmetic brand affiliate with Kao, also plans to increase its Free Plus retail store volume in China by 1.5 times in 2018.
Japan’s total exports of cleansing and oral care products reached approximately 33 billion yen in 2016, representing a 30% increase of the prior year. The two categories were expected to top 50 billion yen in 2017.
Growth Continues in 2018
Several factors are driving Japanese brands increased investment in China during 2018. First, Chinese demand for high quality products continues to rise. According to the China Shopper Report 2017 jointly released by Bain & Company and Kantar Worldpanel, China’s middle class consumers are increasingly choosing higher end personal care and household products ranging from cosmetic to toothpaste and toilet paper. Research findings also show that a growing number of Chinese consumers continue to use Japanese personal care products after then try or buy them on trips to Japan.
Second, social media is also driving awareness and consumption of Japanese brands. The Baidu Index reflecting online search popularity has shown a sharp increase in the frequency of searches for Japanese personal care brands like Kanebo.
Third, reductions in China import tariffs from 17.7% to 7.7% has also stimulated more purchases of Japanese products. Gao Feng, a spokesman from the Ministry of Commerce, recently note that China has concluded 15 free trade agreements, covering 23 countries and regions and more than 8,000 duty-free imported products. China has also signed 16 free trade agreements with 24 countries and regions in Asia, Europe, the America, and Oceania.
In response to China’s reduction of custom duties and consumption tax on cosmetics, L'Oreal (China) said that they would conduct an internal assessment as soon as possible to increase investment in such areas as product development and innovation, production, services, and personnel training to make appropriate adjustments to maximize consumers’ interests.
Japan Expands Its Presence at China Beauty Expo
During 2017, Sang Jingmin, Chairman of China Beauty Expo, and Sang Ying, Secretary-general of China Beauty Expo met with Tian Rang, President of Polystar and Mr. Kamata Masashi, former General Manager of Shiseido (China), and other industry leaders in Japan. China Beauty Expo (CBE) also received strong support from Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, and the Personal Care and Cosmetics News Agency
Japan will be the Country of Honor for the 23rd China Beauty Expo help from May 22-24, 2018. Japanese exhibitors will showcase their products in Hall N5, the show’s international fashion pavilion. Japanese brands will participate in a range of product launches, seminars, and conferences, including China Cosmetics Retail Summit and Asia Supply Chain Summit.