Must-buys from Japanese drugstore

Ⅰ. Most loved channel by Japanese

  • Drugstore is the largest cosmetics sales channel in Japan. As of 2016, it accounted for 25.4% of all channels. Drugstore is the most familiar go-to for Japanese who prefer to buy cosmetics offline.
  • The number of drugstores across Japan is around 15,400 in 2018, with cosmetics accounting for 15.1% of its overall sales.
Figure1. M/S by cosmetics sales channel in Japan | Source: Fuji economy
Figure2. Number of drugstore in Japan | Source: Japan Ministry of economy, trade and industry
Figure3. Share of typical Japanese drugstore | Source: Japan Ministry of economy, trade, and industry

Ⅱ. Cleansing and color cosmetics brands

  • The most popular beauty items that Japanese buy at drugstores are cleansers, mask packs and color cosmetics. Some of the favorite brands are Freeplus, Biore, Kose, Kiss me, etc.
  • Japanese cleansing and color cosmetics with affordable price are very popular in China. Brand ranking of cleansing category shows that the 1st and 8th place are occupied by Japanese brands, as well as 11th (Curel) and 12th (Hanajirushi).
  • The performance of popular Japanese drugstore cleansing brands in the local market are as follows.
  • Freeplus, well known for its removers and cleansers, shows prominent sales revenue in China and highly outperforms other brands.
Table1. Brand ranking in cleansing category in 1H19
Figure4. Sales trend of Japanese cleansing brands in the local market
  • The other hands, there are no Japanese brands on the Top 10 brand ranking list in color cosmetics sold on Taobao/Tmall. This is because Chinese consumers are more inclined to use a variety of lip products, while Japanese color cosmetics are more focused on eye makeup. In eye makeup alone, Japan shows the strongest performance after China.
  • Performance of the most representative Japanese drugstore brands are shown below. All of them are famous for eye makeup products such as mascara, eyeliner, and eyebrows.
  • Sales revenue of Kiss me, Canmake, Ettusais, and Kate all shows a rising trend, and these are the brands that are especially famous for their eye makeup products.
Table2. Brand ranking in color cosmetics category in 1H19
Figure5. Sales trend of Japanese color cosmetics brands in the local market
  • In conclusion, cleansers and color makeup products are the most popular beauty products in Japanese drugstores, and it is obviously loved by many Chinese locals as well. Particularly, Japanese brands that have famous products in these categories show an upward sales revenue trend in Taobao/Tmall.
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