January 2018 Highlights

Jan 18

 

E-Commerce 2017-2022: Relentless expansion changing Japanese distribution forever

E-commerce sales grew just under 10% in 2016 at the most conservative estimate, and most analysts expect double digit growth for at least the next five years. While Japan lags behind other major markets like China, the US and UK in terms of e-commerce share of overall retailing, definitions differ, and for mobile shopping, Japan is by far the most advanced market – and luckily for merchants in Japan, smartphone shoppers spend as much as seven times more than average. Fashion has been the biggest driver of e-commerce in the last five years, other than digital services, but it is food which is likely to see the biggest online growth surge going forward. The burden from all this growth on courier firms continues, but solutions are being worked out, and because of the country’s dense population clusters, Japan could become the most efficient e-commerce market.

 

New shopping centre numbers to fall to lowest level in 20 years

SC developers are reining in investment in new SCs as competition intensifies, particularly in the few locations where populations are actually rising, or will at least remain stable. 2017 saw the fewest new properties opening since 2012, and 2018 looks like producing the lowest number of new SCs in more than two decades, but it is largely outlying regions that are suffering.

Editorial: Smartphones:  The shop window

 

Kids footwear market booms

Until recently most children’s shoes were sold in general shoe stores, but shopping centres are asking for more dedicated stores for children and retailers are responding, suggesting more opportunities for overseas children’s shoe brands to find a market here.

 

2020 tourist sales to hit ¥8 trillion, department stores key beneficiaries

The weak Yen has once again spurred strong sales at department stores. The Nikkei index always rises on a weaker Yen, encouraging Japanese with stocks to go out and spend their profits, and Asian consumers once again find Japanese prices competitive for luxury goods and cosmetics. Estimates suggest a doubling of tourist spending to ¥8 trillion through 2020, and department stores look set to continue to reap the benefits.

 

Facy: Quora for fashion lovers

Finding something new to wear can be time consuming, especially for those who really love fashion. A start up is offering a novel way for consumers to search for new gear, simply by posting questions, and so creating direct links with shops and brands. At 500,000 users and rising, the site offers an innovative way for fashion brands and retailers to reach new customers.

 

Rizap buys B&D from Himaraya

Sports retailers have struggled to find growth in the last couple of years and Himaraya in particular has suffered from its small scale and dependance on the winter sports market. Mitsubishi cut its stake in the chain last year, and Himaraya has now been forced to give away its B&D pro sports chain, just five years after acquiring it. It will also stop adding new stores to its core chain, and instead work on new formats.

 

Digital payments rapidly gaining ground

Japan is still the most cash-dependent advanced economy in the world. Consumers, however, are eager to switch to e-payments, while retailers, seeing the cost benefits of doing away with cash are likely to push the change even faster.

 

Yaoko: how to achieve 29 years of profit growth

There are bigger players, but Yaoko is one of Japan’s most consistently successful supermarkets. It is about to announce its 29th straight annual profit increase, and all because it adheres to a fairly simple, market orientated philosophy of meeting the needs of customers for each individual store. It does a very good job of keeping its store employees happy too.

 

Amazon gets ticked off for ‘inappropriate’ pricing

With so many vendors selling on online malls, many carrying identical products but selling at a variety of prices, it is close to impossible to ensure that everyone is trading by the rules. As the foreigner in the market, and the most successful one at that, Amazon is seeing a growing number of complaints from local marketers when even minor mistakes occur. The problem is, those who point fingers aren’t sticking to their own standards.

 

Spending at ¥80,000 for New Year

A recent multi-country survey by Accenture confirms an up-tick in spending at the end of the year. Despite this unsurprising result, the same report reveals that only half of consumers planned to buy gifts, and provides some insights into online shopping and new shopping technologies.

 

World absorbs Asplund, expands lifestyle operations

Fashion group World has announced the acquisition of Asplund, a small, but highly respected Tokyo-based importer and retailer of lifestyle goods ranging from furniture to interiors and housewares. The company’s ranges are used by many hotels and restaurants, and World hopes to use the company to further expand its own lifestyle brands business.

 

Marui to close 2 stores

Marui has been cleaning house in the last five years, switching all tenants to shopping centre contracts, while also swapping out many lesser performing fashion tenants in favour of other categories, including a plethora of services and dining. While it continues to build new SCs and rebrand others, it is also closing ones that no longer work – next will be its Kawasaki and Mito stores.

 

Montbell: sales up 8% in FY2018

Montbell, the outdoor sports brand, continues to grow strongly, expecting 8% growth to August this year. It has built a reputation for its environmental campaigning, as well as high quality ski and outdoor goods, and is gradually expanding overseas.

 

Retail Data: Osaka department stores up 11.6% in November

 

IN BRIEF

Maruei to close after 402 years

Consumption to rise in 2018

Aeon to open OPA in Okinawa

Magaseek launches private brand

Locondo will sell your old apparel stock

Marui begins luxury fashion rental services in stores

Takihyo signs Roy Rogers denims

How young mums use the internet

Tokyu plans 9 tenant SC in Ginza

Nitori to increase store brand lines to 40%

Yamato launches “fitting station” for fashion e-commerce

Zozotown tops loyalty ranking

Start Today expands DC base to prepare for future growth

Yagi Tsusho signs Gianni Chiarini

Growth in Japan’s beverage market

Amazon offers 130 brands on dash buttons

Balance Style Signs Dutch brand BALR

Another month, another round of Seiyu price cuts

Parco to host LINE Friends flagship in Harajuku

Bell Commons to be rebuilt

Familymart opens new hybrid stores

Supermarkets, CVS down again in November

Tsuruha surges in 1H2017

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