January 13 2023

Post-Covid era finally begins for Japanese consumers

Highlights from JapanConsuming monthly report

News and Analysis on Japanese retailing and consumers

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January 2023 Issue

Giftee: digital gifting surges for consumer businesses

The gift market has contracted in recent years as corporate and formal gift giving has declined, but companies and individuals are enthusiastic adopters of digital gifting thanks to the convenience. Businesses, in particular, are using eGifts as marketing and promotion tools and Giftee is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this trend.

Editorial: 2023: lots of growth, especially online

Bonuses up 11% in December 2022

Many households were pleased to see higher end-of-year bonuses last month. However, inflation remains the biggest worry for most and analysts predict that much of the increase will simply find its way into savings accounts, yet again.

Luxury boost for department stores

More evidence is emerging that department stores will need to rely increasingly on wealthy VIP account holders to maintain sales in the future. The wealthy are also getting younger.

Interiors set for long-term growth

Growth in the home interiors and furniture markets will continue long-term. At present, just a handful of brands have any major presence here, suggesting plenty of opportunity for new entrants from overseas.

Seiyu plans ¥100 billion investment

Building on the five year plan that it set out in 2021, Seiyu last month announced another ¥100 billion in investment over the next five years, with much of the money raised through real estate sales.

Nitori’s CEO upbeat for Japan’s economy in 2023

In what has become something of a tradition, Nitori’s Chairman and CEO, Akio Nitori, last month outlined his forecasts for the Japanese economy for the coming year.

32 new shopping malls in 2023

Mall development has picked up again since 2020 but remains muted. 32 new developments are expected in 2023 but more are likely to close, resulting in a fourth straight year of negative growth. Sales, however, are returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Itochu signs L.L.Bean license, gears up Forever 21 and Eddie Bauer relaunches

Three years ago, Itochu Shoji made it clear it would be investing heavily in its brand business and has been true to its word, adding the likes of Reebok, Under Armour and Forever 21 to its portfolio. It has now signed a deal with long-term Japan operator, L.L.Bean, while gearing up for a major relaunch of Eddie Bauer.

Fewer but better suits from Aoyama and its competitors

Fewer people wear suits as a regular office uniform and there are also fewer working age Japanese which, combined with the fact that more people work from home some days a week, has meant a drastic decline in suit sales. In response, the big retailers are exploiting the growing popularity of custom and premium suits.

Record sales at JR Tokai Takashimaya

JR Takashimaya is a newbie in the world of department store retailing but has grown to become the fourth highest selling store in the two decades since it opened. As a result, it is increasingly regarded by brands as the Nagoyan version of Isetan Shinjuku in Tokyo and Hankyu Umeda in Osaka.

Staff Start hits ¥150 billion

Staff Start has become a fixture in fashion e-commerce marketing but has now begun to expand into other categories, including home, cosmetics and food. It also has a new collaboration with Aeon to market the products of retailers in its malls.

Frozen food becomes a staple

The convenience and growing variety of frozen foods, as well as new innovations in freezing and defrosting technology, suggest growth in this food category is set to continue. Retailers are adding new ranges and even introducing new specialty corners to keep up with demand, meaning that there are opportunities for overseas specialists to expand in the market.

FOCUS:
2023 heralds the real start of the Post-Covid era

This month’s focus looks back on 2022 and tracks the major changes moving into 2023. With even some department stores looking to post better results than before Covid started, Japan can finally begin to put the pandemic behind it, although things are certainly not the same. 2023 will hopefully see a fall in inflation, and even a small one will help reassure consumers, while trends that began in the past three years, notably more e-commerce and more consolidation across multiple retail sectors, will continue to advance.

Retail Data: Growth – except in regional markets

IN BRIEF

Lawson withdraws IPO for Seijo Ishii
Credit Saison ties with Shein
Shimamura tops records again
Workman launches new format Workman Plus 2
IKEA expands to 10 pickup centres for online orders
Tokyu to revamp Hikarie as Shibuya store closes
Kobe Bussan sales up 12.4%
New penalties for fake reviews
Amazon Hub partner programme launches
Itochu invests in AI for FamilyMart Vision
Zozo: 20,000 reservations for Niaulab
Retailers 20% of all zombie companies
Komehyo opens major Ginza flagship
Fujimaru to close this month
Heiwado introduces netsuper
Lawson to Sell expired foods on Cookpad
Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe rebuild confirmed
Kamada Seika opens first directly run store
J Front targets real estate investments
AnyCarry expanding outside Tokyo
CoCoLo Niigata to reopen in February
Hotel Chocolat new deal for Japan
Clothing recycling at Lawson
Smallest Adult Day ever
Ain expanding in SE Asia
H2O looks for imports in tie-up with Mandai

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