Black Friday in Japan

Is Black Friday Sale A Success in Japan?

Does Black Friday exist in Japan? The answer is yes! However, you can´t compare the Japanese version with the American one. The popularity of Black Friday has risen rapidly in the last few years. Therefore, this day has enormous potential for your future sales in Japan.

How Black Friday Became a “Thing” in Japan 

Here is a brief history of Black Friday in Japan:

2014: Toys “R” Us hosted the first Black Friday sales.

2015: The fashion store GAP adopted the concept.

2016: AEON, one of the biggest retail chains in Japan, started a successful campaign with TV commercials and ads in stores.

2019: Amazon Japan officially joined Black Friday with special promotions across various product categories.

Since then, both e-commerce and retail have utilized Black Friday to increase their sales during the holiday season in Japan. Now Black Friday is an event for determined shoppers to get a great deal on a variety of products such as electronics, games, furniture, and more. Additionally, products on sale aren’t just old items that are sitting in stock. Even newer product generations are offered with discounts ranging from 30% to 70%. There are several brands and retailers participating in Black Friday sales, including Amazon, Rakuten, AEON, and UNIQLO. Therefore, it is a smart way to leverage your sales.

Get to know the top 6 product categories of the holiday season.

 Save These Dates for 2022 

Amazon´s Black Friday is on the 25th of November.

Amazon´s Cyber Monday takes place on the 28th of November.

Top 9 Japan Black Friday Facts 

  1. It has become an annual event in November in some stores.
  2. The beginning of Japanese Black Friday can differ from store to store.
  3. Amazon Japan aligns its start of Black Friday with the US.
  4. It does not adhere to a specific duration. It depends on the store.
  5. It can be considered as the start of the holiday sales.
  6. Unlike Americans, Japanese people do not celebrate Thanksgiving the day before Black Friday.
  7. It often offers special bonus points campaigns with rewards for customers.
  8. You can buy limited-edition and Japanese-exclusive items at a low price.

Some retailers started to sell “fukubukuros” (the New Year´s mystery bag) on Black Friday.

Conclusion 

Taking advantage of Black Friday helps you attract customers from the start of the holiday season. With low prices, you can penetrate the market offline and online. It is common for Japanese customers to spend their yearly winter bonuses on highly discounted items from November to January. To unleash your full holiday selling potential, it’s advisable to run different promotions that include Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year´s sales.

How COVUE Can Help You

COVUE can help you streamline your business operations every day of the year. With our End-2-End Japan Market Entry Services, we unlock your business potential in Japan. Our services include eCommerce, Importer of Record, Inbound Logistics, and more.

Common challenges for foreigners who wish to expand in Japan

 6 Common Challenges for Foreign Businesses Who Wish to Enter Japan

Despite being the 3rd largest economy in the world, Japan lies at the bottom for ease of doing business. The number of regulatory hurdles and cultural factors can make Japan a difficult country to penetrate, which is why it is essential to have a local partner on board when doing business in Japan.

Here are the common challenges you can expect when doing or expanding your business in Japan.

  1. Language Barrier  

Less than 10% of the Japanese population is fluent in English according to this study. You might have difficulties complying with import regulations, marketing your product, and generating revenue without language skills and consultation.

  2. Cultural Differences  

When expanding your business to Japan, you need to be aware of cultural differences. Japanese customers differ from other customers. Meeting their taste, needs, and demands will determine the success of your brand.

Content localization is one strategy to overcome these distinctions.

Read more

Challenges in doing business in Japan

  3. Incorrect Information  

From import compliance to taxes and other laws, the information is often inaccurate that you can find on the internet in English. Either it is outdated or it does not apply to your situation. You should seek the assistance of Japanese and English-speaking experts to discuss your business case and strategy individually.

  4. Not Having Enough Resources  

Scaling a business in Japan requires resources. It´s a very bureaucratic country and it takes time and effort to overcome the hassle. Consulting an expert and assigning one person to your team to Japan can be beneficial. Moreover, it is crucial to be able to deliver the product on time. In other words, you should prepare the operating management in your country to handle the production and shipment to Japan.

 5. Misunderstanding the Cost Implications  

The costs of expansion are often underestimated by many foreign sellers like you. The Japanese and Western markets, for example, differ significantly, so you cannot expect instant success when importing and selling your product. In the Japanese market, domestic brands are dominant. For your product to meet the demands of Japanese consumers, you must conduct market research and adjust your products for the launch. Costs will increase as a result, but it´s a necessary expense to do business successfully here. Furthermore, you have to determine which investments are crucial, cost-efficient and effective for your market entry.

  6. Thinking Product-oriented Instead of Customer Centric  

Your brand might be doing well in the European or US markets. Despite that, your brand can fail in Japan if your mindset revolves mainly around your product, not your prospective customers. Being open-minded can set you apart from the competition. Your brand will not be trusted from the start. Don’t count on the success you already have in other markets. Concentrate on how your product can fit into the Japanese market.

 Conclusion 

You are one step ahead of your competitors when you know what the most common challenges are. When you are aware of the mistakes that others have already made, you can avoid them. Being successful here requires resources, accurate information, and a thorough understanding of the market. Save time, resources, and costs by consulting an expert.

 How COVUE Can Help You 

Local help is essential to the smooth operation of an overseas venture. Our End-2-End Japan Market Entry Services are designed to support your expansion in every aspect. We handle your business in Japan so that you do not have to deal with the most common challenges a foreigner usually faces when expanding to Japan.

Japan IOR

Japan Importer Of Record And Import Compliance: Here’s What You Need To Know

Japan IOR

Japan is not only an advanced and leading country in today´s world but also a safe and convenient environment to do business. If you are thinking about expanding your business, Japan is a game-changer for you. Aside from in-depth market research for your products, it´s also important to think about the best way to import to Japan.

The key to entering Japan successfully is to understand the significance of an Importer of Record and import compliance.

What Is Japan Importer Of Record?

Japan Importer of Record is a Japanese resident or company with an import license who handles all taxes, customs charges, and other compliance issues.

Responsibilities Of An IOR Company.

Having an IOR in Japan is your responsibility while the IOR itself has to ensure that everything import related complies with Japanese law. Therefore the IOR will submit all the mandatory paperwork for you. Besides that, the Importer will…

… check if compliance with the products being imported.

… pay consumption taxes and duties at the customs.

… deal with customs clearance and possible issues.

During the import process, all accountability lies in the hands of the IOR at the customs.

Customs And Compliance Considerations.

Getting to know Japanese import requirements and compliance documentation is crucial when doing business there. No matter where you are exporting from, for entering the Japanese market you need to abide by the principles of the country. Your Importer of the record must secure compliance at the Japan customs. This includes the three following steps:

  1. Classification and identification of the imported cargo.
  2. Determination and payment of tariffs and duties.
  3. Submitting a commercial invoice, packing list, signed bill of lading, or an air waybill.

Each item in your shipment must be described in the commercial invoice in as detail as possible.

Your packing list should contain the exact contents and measurements of each container, as well as their gross and net weights.

Besides that, you also need to be aware of the fact that your IOR has to submit additional paperwork sometimes depending on the product category.

For example, your IOR is required to get approval from the Japan PMDA in advance to import cosmetics.

Learn more about the different import categories

There are items that cannot be imported to Japan, like narcotics, firearms, explosives, counterfeit currency, and more. Other goods like hazardous materials, animals, plants, perishables, or in some cases high-value articles are demanding not only an IOR but also further paperwork. Additionally, import quota items require an import license, which is usually valid for four months.

Conclusion

To successfully enter Japan, you need a partner who will guide you through the complexity of customs and compliance. Having a trusted Japan IOR company is the best way to keep the import process as smooth as possible.

Your Japan IOR Partner of choice: COVUE

COVUE is your local Japanese IOR partner that supports your market entry into Japan. We know how to deal with compliance and customs. No matter what your product category is, we will help you document it appropriately and manage compliance, tax payments, and more. Over 95% of our licenses apply to food, cosmetics, electronics, and medical devices (class I-III), so you can be confident that we have your category covered. We set up an online IOR system to simplify your market access to Japan. With us as your IOR partner, you can monitor the whole process from anywhere at any time.

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.

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.

5 Best Places to Buy Japanese Cosmetics, Makeup and Beauty Products

Being beautiful is one of the top priorities for millions of individuals around the world. But consumers who want to be beautiful and careful of their skin at the same time tend to choose Japanese cosmetics. They have earned the trust of domestic as well as international customers, and today, few would ask, “What’s Shiseido?” Sure, Japanese beauty products are often pricier than Chinese or Korean cosmetics. But you know that cheap products could be harmful and damages can be permanent. What’s more important? 5 Best Places to Buy Japanese Cosmetics, Makeup and Beauty Products.

For those lucky enough to be heading to the land of SK-II, Shiseido, FANCL, Kao and Kanebo, we’ve put together 5 best places to buy Japanese cosmetics. If you consider yourself as shopaholic for Japanese beauty products, be warned – there is no stopping once you are in any of the best 5 places below!

No. 5 Drug Stores

Japanese drug stores are nothing like those in your own country. They are more like, hm, a theme park with millions of drugs, beauty cosmetics, accessories, clothes, bath products, health & diet food, energy drinks, sanitary goods and more.

Major chain drug stores include: Matsumoto KiyoshiSeijo KokokaraFineTsuruha and Sugi Drug Store. There you will never run out of beauty products to buy in Japan. Btw, many of them in major cities are duty-free, so take your passport with you when shopping at drug stores.

No. 4 Convenience Stores

If you have little time left to buy Japanese beauty products, convenience stores will come to save you from your shopping disaster. Locally called “Convini”, Japanese convenience stores are literally everywhere from super remote areas to airports, and never ever underestimate convini.

Not only do they have regular Japanese beauty and cosmetic products, but they also produce their own brands as well as products in collaboration with major Japanese cosmetic brands.

For example, Seven Eleven has its own brand, ParaDO, as well as collaboration beauty and skincare products with FANCL, Botanical Force. mfc is a beauty cosmetics series produced by Kanebo exclusively for Family Mart, which also has an exclusive rights to sell MUJI products including their cosmetics.

So don’t panic even if you don’t have time to shop anywhere else – Japanese conviniwill always be there for you.

No. 3 Discount Stores

Another great place to buy Japanese cosmetics are discount stores. The most famous in Japan is Don Quixote, or locally called Donki. They are pretty much everywhere in major and not so major cities in Japan, including Shinjuku, Asakusa, Ikebukuro, Shibuya and Yokohama. It’s easy to shop at Donki as they often have multilingual signs, explaining each product. Each shop has different discounted items, so check out a few different shops if you have time.

Same as drug stores above, Donki shops in major touristy areas are duty-free. For electric products, brand goods, and watches and jewelries, purchase over 10,001 yen is duty-free. For consumable goods such as food, beverages, drugs and cosmetics, purchase over 5,001 yen becomes duty-free.

The other excellent discount shop to buy Japanese cosmetics from is Daiso. While some cosmetic items are made in Japan, most of Daiso products are designed by and produced for Daiso overseas. Also, it’s a 100 yen shop after all, so they don’t carry upmarket cosmetics for high end customers. If you are after 100 yen fake eyelashes or black charcoal facial mask made in China, Daiso is the place.

No. 2 Department Stores


If you are looking for the latest models of high quality cosmetics, and expect the five star customer service, then head to IsetanMitsukoshiTakashimayaMatsuzakaya and Matsuya. Slightly lesser status, but still extremely sophisticated customer service can be found at SogoKeioOdakyuTokyuLaLaport and Prince PePe. You’ll find the first floor of these department stores dedicated to top end Japanese and international cosmetics.

Shinjuku Isetan is the most exclusive and popular department stores in the entire country. So hit Shinjuku Isetan if you can at all cost, and try Shinjuku Takashimaya afterwards. Shopping Japanese cosmetics at department stores in the exclusive Ginza district of Tokyo is also an exhilarating experience. Ginza Mitsukoshi and Matsuya are perfect places to get pampered in a Ginza style.

No. 1 Online Shops

If you are not going to travel to the land of Shiseido anytime soon, or forgot to buy certain Japanese beauty products, online shops are only one click away. There are many cosmetics online shops that sell Japanese beauty products, and we also have a variety of Japanese beauty and skincare products:-)

We only sell made in Japan cosmetics and skincare products, and if you don’t see what you are looking for at our shop, we’ll be more than happy to go and look for you!

Market Trends: Selling Fashion and Beauty in Japan

Consumers in Japan are some of the most sophisticated and hard-to-please in the world, yet with open wallets for products, they trust.

Here are some facets of Japan’s rag trade, beauty trends, and beyond—including makeup, youth, and senior fashion—that marketers in Japan or those that plan a market entry into Japan should know, as well as how shopping for all this stuff is changing.

The major key is self-expression for those times when not in harness in the working world.

Exhibitor feedback from the autumn Fashion World Tokyo Show reveals that Japan’s consumers have some particular tastes. Accessories and bags with a low bling factor, for one. They also prefer clothes that don’t wrinkle or fade, which makes clothing produced using completely natural materials and dyes less attractive. In footwear, they favor more comfortable, less formal styles.

The skincare game and other altered states

Bihaku – white skin as the epitome of beauty

Bihaku is an integral element of a sophisticated skincare regimen, encompassing makeup removal, cleansing, lotion, serums and moisturizers, exfoliators, and more. That self-care actually extends to what’s eaten and drunk—collagen-rich and fermented foods, seaweed and oily fish, for example, and green tea—as well as onsen bathing.

The mochi skin phenomenon

There’s a definite desire among Japanese women to attain what’s known as “mochi skin”—essentially a complexion that mimics the soft, smooth texture of mochi rice cake desserts.

In vivid contrast to that flawless skin, Japan’s young fashionistas are applying colored eyeliner (yellow, green, pink, and more), or maybe under-eye blush or glossy, glittery eye shadow.

There’s a vibrant gloss for the lips, too, in fruity shades. Younger Japanese women also go in for colorful nail art, including what are known as “nuance nails,” with each nail covered in different colors, designs, and decorations.

Cutting edge contact lenses and hair care

Colored and patterned contact lenses—the latter known as “circle lenses”—hold a particular appeal in the land of manga, anime and cosplay.

Important to know for overseas marketers is the fact that while some circle lenses are nearsighted,
farsighted or astigmatic folks, most are pure fashion statements.

Japanese manufacturers have also devised some radically new tech for hair care. Louvredo’s Fukugen hair dryer uses a special far-infrared wavelength of 6 ~ 20 μm and negative ionization to shake the moisture out of the hair, eliminating the usual damage to hair proteins that hot air causes. Lumielina’s Bio programming range of care and styling products use a new type of ceramic that not only shields hair from heat but also actually improves its smoothness, moisture balance, and gloss.

Online fashion buying habits of the Japanese

Buying fashion and beauty products remotely has always been a bit tricky unless you know exactly what you’re getting, especially when it comes to fit/drape and shade. That doesn’t stop many, though. You see ladies avidly scrolling through clothes and accessories online. On a train or in a coffee shop, for example, they may be hunting for bargains on name-brand goods at a flash sale site.

Smartphone apps are changing the game as well. One called Bodygram uses AI deep-learning and machine-learning algorithms based on just a front and profile photo to the size you perfectly, like a master tailor. Augmented reality (AR) makeup mirrors from app developer Perfect Corp. are helping Estée
Lauder, L’Oréal, and Amway give shoppers the chance to virtually apply products via smartphone
as well. New Balance has set up machines in major Japanese department stores
and elsewhere to do 3D scans of your foot for an exact fit.

The customer is not king, but god in Japan. Anything you can offer them to enhance their shopping experience might get you into their good graces – and purchasing decision.

The Japanese senior fashion market: A graceful transition into maturity

Older women in Japan are increasingly opting for mature styles in both hair and what they wear, not seeking to duplicate the fashions their daughters and granddaughters pursue. That includes a more natural, personal look and going gracefully gray up top. All featured older women rocking distinctive styles and dos.

That’s one powerful indication that designing for and selling to the senior market is worthwhile.

Functional fashion is not a niche, but mainstream in Japan

For marketers, some other pivots include temperature—such as wide-legged pants to stay cool in Japan’s
steamy summertime, and Uniqlo’s “heat-tech” garments for keeping warm in the winter. Other upcoming segments include fashion and beauty addressing environmental, ethical, and sustainability issues, like e.g. anti-pollution skincare products.

Planning to sell Fashion and Beauty Product In Japan?

Having local help onboard is essential in order to be successful in Japan Market Entry. Don’t know where to start? We can help!

COVUE is a trustworthy Japanese company that has import licenses for many product categories. 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!

Japan Luxury

Understanding New Trends and Opportunities in Japan’s Luxury Industry

Japan is the second-largest luxury market in the world – behind the United States and ahead of mainland China – with 3.6 trillion yen (about US$33 billion) spent each year in luxury goods.

  • Luxury labels, built on exclusivity, used to mean that having an online presence was not necessary; not the case anymore
  • digital channels must used by companies to get leverage in the market (search engines, social media, email, websites and mobile apps etc.)

Japan’s luxury industry:

  • GFC then disasters in Tōhoku and Fukushima, luxury spending in Japan shrank by over 1 trillion yen ($10.6 billion) by 2012
  • report by McKinsey & Company: Japanese luxury market… to maintain positive growth
  • 82% of luxury executives surveyed responded that their sales outlook for 2017 is significantly better than 2016.
  • by 2020, it is anticipated that the market will grow by a moderate rate of 3% to 4% per year
  • Japanese department stores are still the main venue of purchase for Japanese luxury consumers
  • 70% of people polled buy in Department store representing 50% overall revenue
  • Younger generation is buying brands like Céline, Balenciaga, and Gucci
  • Older generation are purchasing from brands like Hermès and Chanel, which are perceived as “very reliable” and “have a heritage.”

Digital marketing in the luxury industry:

  • a renewed interest in Japan in the past year or so due to recent market growth
  • Japan accounts for 11% of global luxury spending
  • Luxe Digital recently published a report suggesting that digital influences at least 80% of all luxury sales

Digital marketing techniques that are currently trending in the luxury industry:

  • Content is King
    • Storytelling, being able to tell the story behind the brand, explaining the values that define it: Luxury goods as much about image, style, and intangibles than about the actual quality of the product
    • Create contents that are aspirational and appeal to the customer’s desire to display their status
    • A luxury brand gives their customers an opportunity to showcase a lifestyle and a value system
  • Successful digital marketing campaigns
    • Burberry: social media campaigns and creative videos that combine history, fashion, and the appeal of a glamorous lifestyle. YouTube – 99 million viewers, 317,000 subscribers. Recent ad received 12 million views within a month (holiday campaign tribute for the movie Billy Elliot – Celebrating 15 years of Billy Elliot).
  • Social Media Marketing
    • Visual social networks like Pinterest provide a huge opportunity for luxury brands
    • Photographs are one of the best media for marketing luxury products
    • Chanel: one of the most ‘pinned’ brands on Pinterest – over 1,244 pins of Chanel products pinned per day
  • Boost SEO
    • A well-executed SEO strategy is one of the most lucrative digital marketing investments that a luxury company can do.
    • Google is one of the most significant channels for luxury
    • A large proportion of luxury brands have begun investing in SEO strategies
    • Tiffany: bought into SEO, have firm, successful strategies which have led to them dominating the search results

Importing Luxury Goods In Japan? We got you!

Having local help onboard is essential in order to be successful in Japan Market Entry. Don’t know where to start? We can help!

COVUE is a trustworthy Japanese company that has import licenses for many product categories. 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!