Fast Fashion Market in Japan: Uncovering Competitive Dynamics

The fast fashion market in Japan is experiencing a skyrocketing popularity. The market size is projected to be over US$50.23bn in 2023. This offers a great business opportunity for foreign brands who wish to expand their business in the country.

However, navigating this industry can be challenging because of its ever-changing trends.

Competitive Dynamics of Japan’s Fast Fashion Market 

To succeed in the Japanese fast fashion market, it’s crucial to understand your target audience’s demographics and preferences. By staying attuned to the ever-shifting consumer demands, you can strategically position your brand to thrive in this dynamic market landscape. 

  • Consumers have become more conscious of sustainable products 
  • They prefer personalized experiences offline and online

Read more about the preferences of Japanese consumers. 

  1. Affordable Style: Renowned international brands like Zara and Shein are offering budget-friendly options.
  2. Trendiness: Brands offer the newest trends from the catwalk delivered to the home of the consumers.
  3. Quick Adaptation: Brands are staying relevant among their competition with special incentives and shopping experiences depending on the market developments.

Retail and eCommerce in Japan’s Fashion World

Japanese fashion markets are a blend of eCommerce and brick-and-mortar stores. While fashion owns 27.8% of Japan’s eCommerce market, physical stores continue to hold a special place in consumers’ hearts. In fact, Japan is known for its unique in-person shopping experiences. Virtual and augmented reality technologies offer fresh ways to engage with customers online and offline.

The Leading Players in the Market

Competition in the Japanese fast fashion market is fierce, with major domestic and international brands competing for attention. You’ll face several challenges as a foreign fashion brand entering the Japanese market. From cultural differences to the challenges of the competition, it’s crucial to have a good strategy.

Homegrown brands like Uniqlo and GU hold a significant market share, while international brands such as H&M and Zara compete alongside them. Other successful brands carve out their niches and offer innovative designs and incentives, like Forever 21 and Shein.

Forever 21 

Forever 21, a well-known fast fashion brand, exited the Japanese market in 2019. They attributed their departure to the intense competition and rapid growth of online shopping.

However, the brand re-entered the market in 2023 with a fresh approach and emphasis on sustainability. Initially, they started with online sales and a showroom-type store in Tokyo. Later this year, they opened their first physical store in Osaka’s LaLaPort shopping mall.

Forever 21 intends to open 15 stores and achieve 10 billion yen in sales by 2028. To help achieve this goal, they collaborated with Adastria Co., a large Japanese apparel company. This collaboration focuses on strategic product planning and marks a shift from fast fashion to offering high-quality and environment-friendly products.


Shein, managed by a Singapore-based Chinese company, is a rising star in the SPA market. To capture the attention of the Japanese market, the brand strategically engaged with Tokyo Girls Collection events and established pop-up shops across the country.

Embracing the Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) model, Shein requires customers to purchase products online via QR codes. As the brand shows its fast growth potential in the Japanese market, its success is evident.


Japan’s fast fashion market presents brands with both opportunities and challenges. To successfully engage Japanese consumers, brands must understand and adapt to their unique preferences. You can create a strong brand presence by staying on top of the latest trends, pushing for innovation, and delivering personalized experiences.

Ready to Expand Your Business? 

Experience exponential brand growth in Japan’s vibrant fashion market with COVUE as your trusted partner. Our market knowledge and expertise guarantee a solid foundation for your brand’s expansion, fostering long-term success and recognition.

Sources: Japan Times, Statista, Asahi, Fibre2Fashion, Global News Wire