Cosmetics Market In Japan – Market Overview and Opportunities

Japan is the world’s third-largest cosmetics market. The Japan cosmetics industry is much older & sophisticated, but it has remained stagnant over the past few years. Recently in 2017 cosmetics market in Japan is witnessed to recover and give competition to rest of the world. Japan is called the sleeping giant of the cosmetics industry which has now awaken. The cosmetic market of Japan has maintained an image of authentic, sustainable & eternal due to its rich culture, beauty rituals, and obsession for beauty. Across Japan, the consumers are estimated to have the highest per capita expenditure on cosmetics & skincare products. The domestic beauty industry generated a revenue of over 36 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. Within the Japanese cosmetics market, skincare products are dominating, accounting for a market share of almost 50 percent.

With a growing mature domestic market, products that promote mainly skincare, anti-aging and skin moisturizing properties are expected to continue to be popular. This market segment is showing a preference for low maintenance beauty regimes which in turn translates to high functionality. Skin care has traditionally been more popular in Japan (in comparison to make up in Western countries) and consumers of all demographics are well versed in brands and quality. Expectations of packaging design and quality amongst consumers are exceptionally high.

There is increasing competition in the cosmetics markets from domestic manufacturers from other industries such as pharmaceutical, food, beverage and photographic film industry. Major Japanese companies have in-house R&D capability and utilize technical expertise from their product offerings in their traditional business sectors. Many retailers, including supermarkets, convenience stores and catalogue/ e-commerce companies have launched private label brands, and the contract manufacturers are also creating their own brands and entering the market.


The Japanese market is always looking for innovative new cosmetics brands that attract new consumers. Brands must demonstrate a strong concept and unique ingredients to gain buyers’ attention. Consumers tend to be influenced by the whole product (functionality, packaging, appeal) so maintaining brand awareness and education is extremely important. Use of celebrity endorsement is still effective in this market.

Tariffs, regulations and customs

Under the Japanese Pharmaceuticals Affairs Law, companies that import, wholesale, retail and market cosmetics for business purposes require a manufacturer/importer and distributor of cosmetics license from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

It is mandatory for a complete list of ingredients, together with details of the manufacturing process to be submitted to the regulatory authorities, via an importer. A complete list of ingredients must be printed directly on either the product container or external packaging. All information must be written in Japanese.

Market entry

Bringing your cosmetic products to Japan can be challenging in regulatory compliance. To successfully market your beauty and other cosmetic products to Japan, you should conside partnering with COVUE makes the process for market entry a smooth and pleasant experience. We make it fast, simple and cost effective.

Want to Export your Products to Japan?

Let COVUE’s regulatory experts help you to speed up the market entry process so can that you can focus on your business. We’re here to help! It’s what we do best.

At COVUE IOR, we seek to make the import process simple, compliant, and accessible to all sellers of all sizes. COVUE is not an ACP. COVUE is the direct IOR: we own our license, and our compliance support is in-house. We trusted by 000’s of Sellers and Shipping providers.