DAISO

Popular Japanese 100-yen store Daiso now has an online shop

You can now shop for 30,000 products all day, every day – if you’re in Japan

Daiso is a great place to shop for, well, pretty much anything. Need kitchen or tableware? Daiso. Boxes, folders, and bins to keep your home organized? Daiso. Socks, mittens, and caps to keep you warm? Daiso. Seasonal decorations? You guessed it: Daiso.

If anything, the beloved 100 yen store chain might have too much cool stuff. Daiso’s product lineup is far too extensive for any one shop to stock all of it, so you might not be able to find the exact thing you’re looking for at your local branch. Thankfully, though, there’s now a Daiso that not only has tens of thousands of items, but is even open 24 hours a day, thanks to the opening of the Daiso online shop.

The store’s full version launched on October 13. Just like in the chain’s physical stores, it’s filled with treasures that cost just 100 yen each. There are roughly 30,000 to choose from, with the website allowing you to search for specific items by name or browse through various categories.

High-rollers in the prefectures of Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Hokkaido, Aomori, Fukushima, Miyagi, Akita, Iwate, and Yamagata can also order around 6,000 different items from Daiso’s 300-yen Threeppy sub-brand.

Items can be purchased individually, but you do need to put together a total bundle of at least 1,650 yen. Shipping is 770 yen for almost all of Japan, with the exceptions of Hokkaido (880 yen) and Okinawa (2,970 or 3,300 yen, depending on exact location). However, orders of 11,000 yen or over qualify for free shipping, so pooling your Daiso desires with those of a few friends into a single bundle should get you over that hurdle.

Shop DAISO here https://www.daisojapan.com/

Amazon reportedly copied products and manipulated search results to benefits its own brands in India

Amazon.com Inc has been repeatedly accused of knocking off products it sells on its website and of exploiting its vast trove of internal data to promote its own merchandise at the expense of other sellers. The company has denied the accusations.

The employees used internal data to copy products sold by other companies on the platform in India, said Reuters, citing “thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents.” They also reportedly rigged search results so the company’s private-brand products would appear among the first two or three product listings. Two executives at Amazon reviewed the India strategy, according to Reuters. 

Although Amazon says its search rankings do not give preference to its own offerings. Only reward measures like low prices, the company used techniques to give itself a leg up in results.

The measures included ones usually reserved for raising the profile of mostly new products. Like, “whose sales are so low that there are insufficient data for the company’s technology to rank them”. Banners above typical rankings too.

An Amazon spokesperson said the company believes the allegations are “factually incorrect and unsubstantiated. Adding that Amazon strictly prohibits the “use or sharing of non-public, seller-specific data for the benefit of any seller, including sellers of private brands.” The spokesperson also said Amazon displays search results based on relevance to a customer’s search query and doesn’t favor its own private brand products. 

Not the first time…

In 2020, Wall Street Journal reported Amazon allegedly used third-party’s data to create its own products to compete with top-selling items. Amazon had 111 private brands, offering 22,617 products as of early 2020, according to Dataweave. Half of Amazon’s private products were in clothing, footwear, and accessories. Amazon has repeatedly said it does not use internal data or amend search results in favor of its own items. Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reiterated that stance when he testified before Congress in July 2020. A month before Bezos testified, Amazon had established a Counterfeit Crime Unit to bring “counterfeiters attempting to list counterfeit products in its store to justice,” according to its statement. Amazon is under antitrust investigation in the U.S., Europe, and India for alleged anti-competitive practices. 

Private label marketing has a long history in retail. And many brands including Target, Costco, and Walmart, rely on in-house products for a sizeable portion of their revenues. Still, the documents show that Amazon has been able to leverage its power as the world’s largest e-commerce platform. 

 

 

Japanese firms look to paper products to reduce plastic waste

A number of Japanese firms have recently turned to paper as a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic products, from water-resistant cardboard boxes to small hangers.

The move comes as the Japanese government looks to enforce a law to improve the country’s plastic recycling practices and cut down on waste from April next year.

This month, fishery firm Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd became the first company to use water-resistant cardboard products developed by Nippon Paper Industries Co, replacing its standard Styrofoam containers to transport fresh fish packed with ice.

The newly manufactured cardboard is coated with a chemical that repels water and moisture, and when made into a box, it can hold water for up to three weeks, Nippon Paper Industries said.

By switching to its new paper products from Styrofoam, the use of petroleum-derived raw materials can be cut by 96 percent, according to Nippon Paper, with the firm aiming to promote the use of paper in place of plastics to firms with “environmentally friendly outlooks.”

Although the cost of the cardboard boxes is higher than the Styrofoam products, the paper alternative is more compact and saves space during transportation, with an additional perk of being recyclable, Nippon Suisan Kaisha said.

Meanwhile, Oji F-Tex Co, a subsidiary of pulp and paper manufacturer Oji Holdings Corp, has developed transparent paper to help cut the use of plastic film.

Products wrapped in the new transparent packaging are visible to the consumer, and as 51 percent of the wrapping is made out of paper, it can be disposed of as burnable trash.

Daio Paper Corp also began selling stir sticks and miniature hangers made of paper in July. The products are made from layered pulp that has been thickened to increase durability.

Source: Japantoday.com

10 Best Selling Consumer Products in Japan

The consumer society we live in is rapidly changing and the outcome is often surprising. Economic conditions affect our shopping habits and it seems that now we’re being smarter when it comes to spending money.  It appears that we are no longer buying things we don’t need as much as we used to and we don’t do it impulsively but we rather think twice before paying for something. However, this does not mean that we now avoid shopping at all costs or that we shop less, it is simply that consumers are now careful how they spend their money.

 Japanese consumers were not very likely to spend much time at home a few years ago, but now, according to a survey, 46% of them prefer spending time at home. We reviewed the market research in Japan, and we made a list of products and products categories that recorded the highest sales growth last year. We present to you the 10 best-selling consumer products in Japan.

10. Bath And Shower

These products can hardly decline in sales despite the poor economic conditions in many countries. Such is the situation in Japan too, where there is a great demand for bath and shower products that contain skincare benefits. They have seen a strong performance lately as consumers want their bath and shower products to be efficient as well as fragrant, for example, mineral-rich bath salts or antibacterial liquid soap.

9. Organic Beverages

Due to the latest trends and people becoming more concerned about their health and the ingredients found in the food and drinks, organic beverages are in demand in recent years, with 1% growth in value terms. However, most of the organic products in Japan are imported and organic production in this country remains limited, according to the market research.

8. Sports Nutrition

Sports Nutrition deserved a place on our list of best selling consumer products in Japan, as it saw a 2% value growth last year and sales reached JPY 24 billion. This is largely due to the fact that more people are now physically active and do sport. It is expected that sales will continue to grow at a modest 1% rate in the future.

7. Vitamins And Dietary Supplements

Among the most popular consumer products in Japan are also vitamins and dietary supplements. According to the research, vitamins and dietary supplements recorded a 2% increase last year, and it is expected that in the future it will continue to grow reaching sales of JPY 1,181 billion.

6. Video Games

Video games remain one of the best selling consumer products in Japan with a 2% current value increase, according to the research. Sales reached JPY 1.4 trillion last year, which is a major improvement compared to the previous years. Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Classic Mini are the leaders of this sales growth, and it is predicted that it will remain this way in the future.

5.Writing Instruments

Even though consumers everywhere are now switching to convenient digital devices, unlike in many other countries, writing instruments in Japan continue to record sales growth in 2017. Japanese consumers continue to buy high-quality writing instruments despite the economic downturn, and this may have something to do with the fact that consumers get attached to writing instruments regarded as personal items.

4. Organic Food

Organic products seem to be a worldwide trend that is becoming more and more popular among consumers. Concerned about their health, consumers rush to buy organic food in their attempt to decrease the number of harmful ingredients. They are now more careful about the ingredients found in the food, and Japanese consumers are among them. Organic packaged food saw a value growth of 2% in 2016.

3. Watches

Although watches saw a serious decline of 13% last year, the category recovered and saw a value growth of 2% in 2017. 2016 was a tough year for watches as only a few brands saw a positive growth, but this year the situation changed, and it is expected that there will be a steady growth for the rest of the year too. Luxury products are becoming popular again and so the average unit price of watches is going to increase.

2. Organic Coffee

For many of us, coffee is the most important beverage with which we start every day. Organic coffee is among the most popular and best-selling organic beverages in Japan. Coffee lovers who are concerned about what they are drinking are switching to a healthier alternative which is organic coffee. Organic coffee saw 3% value growth in 2016.

1. Ready Meals

For working men and women, it seems quite impossible to find time to prepare a homemade meal every day. That’s where ready meals come into the picture, with a positive sales growth of 4% in 2016 reaching the top of our list of 10 best-selling consumer products in Japan. Consumers everywhere seek convenient solutions and so they turn to ready meals to save time. This is also encouraged by the growing number of single-person households.

Facebook and Ray-Ban debut ‘smart’ shades

Facebook and iconic eyewear brand Ray-Ban on Thursday launched their new smart glasses, the latest effort in a tricky, niche market but which the social media giant sees as a step toward its future.

The “Ray-Ban Stories” shades can take pictures and video upon the wearer’s voice commands, and the frames can connect wirelessly to Facebook’s platform through an app.

“We took our Wayfarer (frames), born in 1952, and we reinvented the design squeezing in some cool technology,” said Fabio Borsoi, global research, and design director at the EssilorLuxottica group, Ray-Ban’s maker.

Facebook is wading into a market that has already seen 2013’s Google Glass, which sparked a privacy backlash over built-in cameras and prompted the tech titan to pivot its focus for the device away from the general public.

Messaging app Snapchat has also released its camera-equipped Spectacles, but they are pricey and have struggled to catch on broadly with tech lovers.

Notably, the Ray-Ban Stories glasses will not have augmented reality features — technology that can mesh online computing with visual cues such as mapping or face recognition.

Instead, the shades are an early step toward efforts to create futuristic eyewear that adds to real-world views with data or graphics from the internet, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said previously.

The company had said in July it was combining specialists from across its hardware, gaming and virtual reality units to build an immersive digital world known as the “metaverse.”

Priced starting at $299, the Ray-Ban Stories will roll out in Australia, Britain, Canada, Ireland, Italy and the United States.

Cameras are built into the front of the frames, while the arms are designed to act as directional speakers for listening to calls or streamed audio.

A white light in the front of the frame goes on when the cameras are being used, which is intended as a privacy feature to alert people they could be filmed.

Users can take a picture or a video clip of up to 30 seconds by pressing a button at the temple or using a voice command, both of which can be cues that a camera is on.

“We need the user to feel completely in control of their capture experience,” said Facebook Reality Labs product manager Hind Hobeika.

“And, similarly, we need people around them to feel comfortable that these smart glasses exist and always be in the know when a capture is happening,” Hobeika added, referring to filming.

The glasses also have a physical switch for turning them off.

Users log into the glasses’ Facebook View app using their accounts at the social network.

Ray-Ban Stories frames sync wirelessly to a smartphone app designed specifically for handling images or video captured by the glasses.

Users can decide using the app whether they want to share pictures or videos they have just captured, such as posting to Facebook or attaching them to an email.

Only data needed to run the app is gathered, and no information is used for targeting ads, said Hobeika.

export impoty

A Complete Guide to HSCode for Imports and Exports

HS Codes play an important role in international imports and exports. The HS code system can be pretty frustrating when you encounter it for the first time. They are 6-10 digit codes assigned to specific goods by customs authorities. These codes are used all around the world, making cargo easily identifiable and ensuring the seamless delivery of goods from Point A to Point B.

Before the Harmonized System was established, global trade compliance was a bit chaotic. Each item had to be classified depending on the country’s different tariff systems. The HS code system was introduced in 1988. This system simplifies the process of classifying goods globally. The HS Code system was developed to enable users to easily calculate and implement various taxes and duties. It also allows users to monitor and control various trade agreements.

If you’re looking to understand more about what HS Codes are and how they are relevant to your import or export, you’re in the right place.

What are HS codes?

The HS code system is a set of uniform, internationally recognized codes used to identify products for import purposes. Each code consists of at least six digits, often followed by optional extra digits, that precisely identify what a product is, based on its specific features, components, purpose, and other criteria.

Customs authorities check these codes on the documentation accompanying imported products. They do this for a number of reasons including:

  • determining tax and tariff rules that may apply for importing the products
  • ensuring that the imported products are not banned due to import restrictions
  • monitoring trade statistics

The code system is extremely detailed. That’s why it’s so effective. But it’s also why it can be so complicated to use when you’re still getting used to it.

Just imagine: the code system covers up to 98% of all products shipped in international commerce. When you consider how many different products there are on the global market, whether it’s jelly beans or paper cocktail umbrellas, you start to realize how extensive the HS code system is.

In short, when crossing most international borders, all products need to identify using the right HS code. Think of HS codes as your company’s password to entering the gate to a foreign market.

What does an HS code look like?

Each HS code consists of at least six digits, usually written in the format ‘XXXX.XX’.

These six digits combine three sets of the hierarchical two-digit codes used in the HS code system. For shippers, the process of finding the right HS code for your product starts with the Section numbers.

There are thousands of HS Codes, and each code describes specific goods. All customs agencies are able to identify these goods easily using the number associated with the particular commodity.

Take umbrellas for example. The digit “6601.91” is the HS code for umbrellas which have a telescopic shaft. But the digit “6601.99” is the HS code for ‘other umbrellas and sun umbrellas’.

Take potatoes as another example. Fresh or chilled potatoes will be classified as 0701.90. But frozen potatoes will go under the code 0710.10.

Each code has a unique structure as follows:

  • A six-digit identification code
  • Five thousand commodity groups
  • Those groups feature 99 chapters
  • The chapters themselves then have 21 sections

The code is structured and logical, stemming from the Kyoto Convention of 1974. A useful example to look at is as follows:

  • Section II of the HS Codes are ‘Vegetable Products’
  • Chapter 10 of Section II is entitled ‘Cereals’
  • Heading 06 of Chapter 10 is then called ‘Rice’
  • Subheading 30 of Heading 06 is then very specifically called ‘Semi-milled or wholly milled rice, whether or not polished or glazed’.

The HS Code given to this particular good is 1006.30. That digit reflects the product’s chapter, heading and subheading to form a unique digit recognised by customs authorities on an international basis. Think of the code as being split three groups of two numbers: the first group of two broadly categorises the product. The second two define the classification and the third group specifies the actual product.

There are approximately 5,300 of these codes in circulation. More than 98% of internationally traded goods rely on the HS Code system for their classification.

Why are HS Codes important?

So, now that you know what HS codes are and how to use them, you may be wondering: why are HS codes important? What difference does it make if you use the right code or not? The answer is: it makes a lot of difference, from a legal standpoint as well as from a business point of view.

The most prominent detail HS codes communicate for you as the importer is the taxes and duties applied to the shipment. However, other than the important information mentioned earlier, HS codes can also communicate data such as the origin of the goods, the eligibility of the products under Free Trade Agreements, compliance requirements, and assist in monitoring prohibited or restricted goods.

As the carriers of so much essential information, it is clear that these codes are critical in ensuring all shipments are treated correctly.

Where do I need to use HS Codes in shipping?

When shipping freight, it’s integral that you use the relevant HS Code on each line on your commercial invoice.

Using an HS Code on a commercial invoice ensures that exports make it through customs seamlessly and without delay. That way, importers will receive their goods faster and exporters are paid sooner. Failure to place the HS Code on the commercial invoice could risk the importer paying the incorrect tax. You also may end up paying interest on any back-payments for incorrect classification, and your goods may even be seized.

How do I find the right HS Code for my shipment?

There are several HS code Lookup sites that claim to help you find HS codes. However, due to the potential for fines and stuck shipments, if there are errors, you should ensure you vet HS code finders before using them.

The full breakdown of each chapter, like this HS code list detailing chapter 85, can also be found through the World Customs Organization, but deciphering this document is not simple and takes a significant time commitment. Inexperience in finding the correct code could result in you mistakenly using the incorrect code, which would have dire consequences for your shipment.

In exporting, from which country of HS code shall be used?

When exporting, the HS Code relevant to the country of export shall be declared on the export declaration.

Using the right HS codes always pays off

While the HS code system may seem like a headache to international retailers, it is actually a powerful tool for getting your merchandise onto the international market. Instead of seeing the HS system as a complicated legal formality, see it as a way of making sure your products get to your customers faster.

As a result of correctly using HS codes, you’ll keep your international customers satisfied and avoid unnecessary delays and expenses.

If you need any help in understanding Japan Import Compliance, COVUE is the best place to go. Contact us today to learn more.

Cyclist Sugiura, 50, becomes Japan’s oldest gold medalist

Keiko Sugiura won the women’s C1-3 road cycling time trial at the Tokyo Paralympics on Tuesday, becoming Japan’s oldest-ever gold medalist at the age of 50.

Sugiura clocked 25 minutes, 55.76 seconds at Fuji International Speedway to triumph and rewrite the age record previously held by Takio Ushikubo, who was 46 when he won judo’s 71-kilogram division at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

She also became the first female Japanese cyclist to win gold at the Paralympics and the fourth overall.

Anna Beck of Sweden won silver in 26:18.03, and Paige Greco of Australia bronze in 26:37.54.

Sugiura has paralysis on the right side of her body and memory impairment suffered after a fall in a cycling race when she was 45 years old.

The Shizuoka Prefecture native continued cycling as part of her rehabilitation won road time trial gold at the 2017 world championships and won silver both in the road time trial and road race at the 2019 world championships.

Sugiura will bid for her second Paralympic gold in the road race on Friday.

In other events, visually impaired athlete Shinya Wada of Japan won the Paralympic silver medal Tuesday in the men’s T11 1,500 meters at the National Stadium.

The 44-year-old Wada, who bagged the bronze medal in the men’s T11 5,000-meter event earlier in the games, won 1,500m silver in 4 minutes, 5.27 seconds. Yeltsin Jacques of Brazil won gold in a world record time of 3:57.60.

The Osaka Prefecture native was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa while he was in high school and lost his vision completely when he was a university student.

Japan’s Kenya Karasawa, who won silver in the men’s T11 5,000-meter event in his Paralympic debut in Tokyo, crossed fourth.

Nissin Foods says 50 billion Cup Noodles have been sold worldwide

Nissin said it has sold over 50 billion cups of Cup Noodles globally since its launch in 1967.

Due to the company’s aggressive promotion, the brand became a prominent seller in the industry.

Nissin’s sales surpassed the 40 billion mark in 2016 and reached 50 billion in May this year.

According to the company, Cup Noodles was created on Sept 18, 1971, and has grown to become a leading instant noodle product.

It has also penetrated the younger generations through advertising that is targeted to them. This has helped it achieve record sales in Japan for four straight years.

Driving Digital at the Speed of Expectation

Ever wonder why the term “digital” has become one of the biggest technology buzzwords? After all, we’ve had digital technology for over a half century, since the first commercially available computer correctly predicted that Eisenhower would win a landslide victory in the 1952 presidential election. Since then, we’ve been on a digital transformation journey that has fueled nearly every advancement in modern history.

So, why the renewed fascination with digital transformation?

To answer this, we must look beyond technology and understand the fundamental shift in consumer attitudes and behaviors that have accelerated technology adoption and given rise to a powerful new force: the speed of expectation. Only by understanding the consumer side of digital can we truly appreciate the groundbreaking implications of the digital economy and the tools, strategies and mindset required to lead it.

So, what exactly is “digital” anyway?

Unlike previous advancements where a singular invention, like electricity, brought about radical change, today’s digital revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that include social, mobile, cloud, internet of things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and a slew of others. By themselves, these technologies are not revolutionary. But together, they have created a powerful set of force multipliers whose combined effect is creating a new reality to which every company must adapt.

The intersection of these four forces is the essence of present-day digital:

Pervasive connectivity – Through IoT and social technologies, people are more connected now. Not only are people connected to other people, but also to devices, and those devices are connected to each other.

Extensive mobility – Mobile has put the power of computing in our pockets, giving us the freedom to “plug in” from anywhere at any time. This enables a world that is always on and accessible.

Scale on-demand – The digital economy runs on big data that requires massive computing power and storage. Cloud services provide unlimited power and the flexibility to adjust resource consumption as needed.

Intelligent machines – Machines and software don’t have to rely on human programmers anymore. Instead, they use AI/ML to sift through massive datasets and learn to solve problems on their own.

Behind the scenes

While digital technology is disrupting the global economy, there’s another more subtle phenomenon happening behind the scenes with consumers. Every advancement throughout history, from the steam engine to the internet, has taken years to gain mass adoption and establish a lasting impact on society. It’s hard to imagine now, but electricity took 46 years before it became the primary source of power. After centuries of technology advancing ahead of human capability, consumers have finally caught up and are now demanding better experiences.

Be careful when the belt is in motion

This cycle of continuous disruption is reminiscent of an episode of I Love Lucy in which Lucy and Ethel were tasked with wrapping candy on a fast-moving conveyor belt. At first, the pace was manageable. But as the belt sped up, the women became overwhelmed and resorted to stuffing candy in their mouths. Fortunately for Lucy and Ethel, the factory foreman intervened to turn off the belt. The cycle of digital innovation, however, has no such safety valve. Companies not only have to contend with developing better user experiences, but they must do it at the speed of expectation.

Simply put

Half a century later, the digital revolution is still going strong. Today, the technology is vastly different — smarter, faster, more accessible and connected. But more disruptive than the technology itself is the unrelenting pace of innovation and the consumer adoption and empowerment accompanying it. Viewing digital transformation through this customer-focused lens, perhaps the essence of digital is more appropriately reduced to just one sentence: Your company is becoming digital if it is able to continuously deliver better customer experiences at the speed of expectation.

Notice there’s no mention of technology. Instead, the focus is on creating value continuously at a pace that aligns with consumer expectations. Technology plays an important role, but to be effective it must be matched with adjustments in organizational mindset, competency and agility.

Consider each component of this definition:

Continuous delivery can’t be achieved without an iterative development model with short deployment cycles measured in weeks — not months and years. This requires revamping organizational skills and adopting new processes for resource allocation and funding.

Better customer experience can’t be delivered using only the narrow lens of surveys and focus groups to gather insights. Companies must learn to use the social web to engage customers in co-creation activities that cultivate mutual value and earn trust. This too requires unique competencies that must be developed or acquired.

Operating at the speed of expectation requires an agile computing environment that can scale and pivot quickly. It also requires a flatter organization to expedite decision making and push it closer to where value is created and captured.

In all these examples, it’s clear digital’s disruptive forces present more of a challenge in adapting mindset than adopting new tools. Using digital-age tools with an industrial-age mindset may provide short-term gains, but won’t lead to better customer experiences that endure.

Technology will always come and go. What is here to stay is the giant leap in speed and agility required to succeed in a customer-centric economy.

export import

Japan’s imports, exports grow on the overseas economic rebound

Japan’s exports in July jumped 37% from a year ago, the government said Wednesday, highlighting an overseas recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Imports also grew, rising 28.5%, according to Finance Ministry data, for the second straight month of a trade surplus for the world’s third-largest economy.

Japan’s exports grew to the U.S., Asia, and Europe; while imports increased from Brazil, Belgium, and Kuwait. By category, exports grew in food, iron and steel products, and electronic parts. Imports rose in food, auto parts, and oil. Japan marked a trade surplus with the U.S., but a deficit with China in July.

The strong trade numbers come even as Japan is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases that are causing some hospitals to turn away patients.

The government state of emergency” was extended Tuesday through Sept 12. It had previously been set to end this month.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also expanded the regions under emergency and a less strict quasi-emergency to about two-thirds of the nation. He promised hospital systems will be reorganized to increase wards to care for COVID-19 patients.

Japan has been trying to balance curbing infections while keeping the economy going. Japan’s economy grew at an annual rate of 1.3% in the April-June quarter.

The emergency is centered around having restaurants and bars close early and not serve alcohol and asking department stores and shopping malls to limit crowd size. Some government advisers have suggested stricter measures may be needed.

Japan has had more than 15,000 COVID-19-related deaths. But worries are growing about the new more contagious delta variant. After the Tokyo Olympics were held without fans, the Paralympics open later this month with similar anti-virus measures in place.

Although the vaccine rollout started slowly, about 40% of the population now is fully vaccinated.