Quality Products Boost Chinese Imports of Japanese Cosmetics

Demand for Japanese cosmetics in China has continued to rise despite fewer opportunities to come out amid the coronavirus pandemic, as local consumers seemingly appreciate their quality, with Japan retaining its status as the top supplier in terms of of value in 2020.

Chinese imports of cosmetics from Japan in 2020 soared more than 30% from the previous year to about $ 4.3 billion (470 billion yen), exceeding $ 3.3 billion from the previous year. South Korea and other major suppliers such as France and the United States, according to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

In terms of import value, Japan overtook South Korea and ranked first in 2019.

“Many Chinese consumers trust Japanese cosmetics, which they consider compatible with their skin types,” said Etsu Ho, researcher in the China and North Asia division of JETRO.

“Chinese imports of Japanese cosmetics have also increased, as Japanese companies are working hard to expand their sales through cross-border e-commerce platforms,” she added.

A growing number of Japanese cosmetics companies are now stepping up their use of these platforms, which are popular in China as the number of Chinese tourists to Japan has plummeted due to travel restrictions amid the pandemic.

Japanese brands are strong in basic skin care products, such as skin and milk lotions as well as face masks.

Chinese consumer demand for these Japanese items has not declined even during the pandemic, forcing people to stay home and reducing opportunities for women to apply makeup, Ho said.

In recent years, the Chinese cosmetics market has grown due to the growing awareness of beauty among Chinese consumers. The Chinese government also lowered import tariffs on foreign products, including cosmetics, from July 2018.

The total value of Chinese cosmetics imports reached about $ 17.3 billion in 2020, rising from $ 4 billion in 2016, JETRO said.

Before the pandemic, Chinese visitors to Japan spent substantial sums on cosmetics on shopping sprees known as “explosive purchases” at drugstores and department stores. Japanese brands such as Shiseido and Pola are well known to Chinese consumers.

According to data compiled by the Japan Tourism Agency, 81.9% of visitors to Japan from mainland China purchased cosmetics and perfumes, among other souvenirs, in 2019, with spending on these items per visitor reaching 52,142 yen. , much more than the sums spent by them. from South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

The Chinese cosmetics market is expected to continue to grow, but competition is expected to intensify as Chinese brands have also improved the quality of their products in recent years.

“Amid the stiff competition, we’ll have to keep a close eye on how long Japanese cosmetics companies can maintain their lead” among overseas suppliers, Ho said.

“It is important for Japanese companies to promote their products through (social media), to take into account what Chinese users want and to speed up the process of cosmetics development, while consumers are looking for new products,” she added.

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