January 5 2024

Annual Consumer Trends Review: polarised spending

Highlights from JapanConsuming monthly report

News and Analysis on Japanese retailing and consumers

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January 2024 Issue


2023-24 Annual Consumer Market Trends Review

Japan’s consumer markets had a remarkably good year in 2023. The spectres of inflation and negative real wage growth marred consumer confidence but these were balanced by a desire to get out and about and spend some of their mounting savings. Those savings still rose a cumulative average of ¥1.45 million during the year to October. Covid and inflation have changed consumer markets and provided a more solid footing for what is expected to be a good 2024 on the back of hopes for genuine real wage growth.

Asics: aiming for No. 1

After forecasting record sales for this year, Asics now wants to become the leading performance running brand in Japan, Europe and the US by 2026.

Editorial: 2024: Better and probably a bit bigger too

Drugstores outselling supermarkets 

Major food-drugstores like Kusuri no Aoki and Genky Drugstores continue to pressure local supermarket competition. The model of funding discount foods and FMCG via high profit pharmaceutical and cosmetics ranges is one that traditional food chains cannot match. Now the largest players are producing their own brands and expanding into new regions.

A new luxury digital emporium for the wealthy

There are few online spaces for the wealthy to find the best the world has to offer. Luxury brands have their own online stores and there are some Gaisho services for members, but not much else. A new service from Restir’s founder offers to be the arbiter of taste, providing what is essentially an emporium of thousands of alluring shop windows – but no store.

Better logistics, slower shipping

New regulations are forcing Japan’s logistics industry to evolve rapidly, with most aware of the long-term gains that removing inefficiencies in the current system will lead to. Faced with the threat of labour shortages, the government announced new support policies and many consumers say they are willing to accept slower deliveries.

Mash up 11%

Mash Holdings’ plans to diversify continue apace, with the opening of the first Sesame Street store. Group sales rose 11% in the year to August and the lifestyle retailer is working to update its cosmetics chain to boost growth.

Only 27 new malls now due in 2024

Shopping mall development improved a little in 2023 but looks set to dip again as developers hold back investment in new builds in favour of refurbishment.

World profit up 41% 

The revival in apparel consumption has helped the big apparel firms rebuild their fortunes. Like its peers, World has invested heavily in omnichannel while diversifying.

Private brands getting bigger – literally

Private brands developed and managed by retailers themselves offer plenty of price and marketing flexibility during these inflationary times, but it is not only their popularity as cheaper alternatives that is growing, so too are pack sizes, as consumers increase shopping volume and reduce shopping trip frequency.

Itochu’s online platform to help retailers procure overseas products

Itochu Shoji has just launched a new online platform to make it easy for Japanese retailers and online stores to procure product from overseas in small, low risk lots. The platform focuses on supply from China at the start but with plans to cover the rest of Asia, Europe and the US in the future.

(Some) regional department stores fighting back

For much of 2023, the main news for regional department stores was about closures, with four prefectures now devoid of this once ubiquitous format. Local authorities are desperate to keep department stores open and more initiatives are appearing aimed at avoiding the ‘last store closes’ headlines for as long as possible.

Retail Data: Convenience stores suffer 1st drop in 21 months


Tourist traffic above 2019 levels again

BRJ signs deal with ABG for Boardriders

Rakuten: over 30 million Rakuten cards issued

Nike flagship in Ginza

Lowya: omnichannel for interiors

Deckers opens first store for Hoka brand

Lalaport opens showrooming store

Daiwa House aiming to acquire 10 malls a year

Too many mothers, not enough children

Haneda Airport Showcases Japanese Crafts

Aeon expands stake in DCM

Donki fashions: any colour as long as it’s black

New Balance unveils new concept store

Japan is Tinder’s second largest market

Ragtag relocates Harajuku flagship

Demand for dining out exceeding 2019

Takashimaya’s Christmas cake makes global news

Tomorrowland adds AI service to new store

Woolrich opens Daikanyama store

Unmanned Lawson store to be regional hub

Rakuten takes over Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper

UV protection and unique clothing set the trend

Nitori’s first Shimachu store opens

Brands and Companies in this Issue

ABG, 3
Adastria, 1, 21–22
Aeon, 4, 7–8, 10–11, 16, 21–22
Akita Foods, 11
Alibaba Group, 12
Alpen, 21–22
Amazon, 11, 20
Anna Sui, 12
Aoyama Shoji, 21
Asics, 1, 3
Aston Martin, 6
Axial Retailing, 21–22
Bain Capital, 5, 8
Beisia, 12
Bic Camera, 16
Billabong, 3
Biore, 13
Boardriders, 3
BRJ, 3
Burberry, 6
Cainz, 14, 22
Comedi Iida, 12
Cosme Kitchen, 8
Cosmos Yakuhin, 4–5
Costco, 10–11
Cyclas, 9
Daiki, 7
Daiso, 20
Daiwa House, 5
Daks, 12
DCM, 7, 21–22
Deckers, 12
Diesel, 6
Don Quijote, 7, 11–12
Edion, 21
Edwin, 3
Efrica, 13
Familymart, 20
Forest Mall, 9
Fuji Yakuhin, 5
Gallest, 9
Gelato Pique, 8
Genky Drugstores, 4
Genten, 12
Gherardini, 12
Ginza Glasse, 9
Goldman Sachs, 5
Goldwin, 3
Green Beans, 11
GVO, 10
H2O, 21–22
Haglofs, 3
Hankyu, 1
Harakjuku, 9
Heiwado, 21–22
Hoka, 12
Homac, 7
Inageya, 12
Isetan, 1, 6, 21–22
Ito Ham, 8
Itochu Shoji, 12
Izumi, 9, 21
John Lobb, 6
Joinus, 23
Kahma, 7
KFC, 10
Kintetsu, 21–22
Kirin, 7
Kirindo, 5
KKR, 12
Kokubu, 10
Komeri, 1, 21–22
Kuipo, 12
Kyowa Shoji, 5
Lalaport Closet, 5
Lanvin, 12
Lawson, 11, 20–22
Lily Brown, 8
Line Yahoo, 7
LionRock, 3
LogiQ, 7
Lohaco, 7
Lopia Mall, 9
Louis Vuitton, 6
Lowya, 4
Lululemon, 1
Marudai Foods, 8
Mash Holdings, 8
Matsukiyo Cocokara, 21–22
Matsuya, 1, 21–22
McLaren, 6
Meiji Yasuda, 16
Mercari, 13
Metaspeed, 1
Mila Owen, 8
Misaki Shoji, 12
Mitsubishi Heavy, 7
Mitsui Fudosan, 5
MItsukoshi, 21
Mitsukoshi, 1, 22
Mizuno, 3
Mosburger, 10
Newco, 3
Nike, 9
Nippon Ham, 8
Nitori, 1, 13, 21–22
Onitsuka Tiger, 3
PPI, 7, 10–11, 21
Qol, 5, 21
Quiksilver, 3
Ragtag, 9
Rakuten, 3, 12
Restir, 5–6
Sacai, 6
Saga Tamaya, 13
Seiyu, 12
Sesame Street, 8
Seven Eleven, 20
Shein, 12
Shimachu Home, 13
Skylark, 10
Snidel Beauty, 8
Snow Peak, 13
Sugi, 5, 21–22
Sundrug, 5, 21–22
Suntory, 7
Takashimaya, 1, 10–11, 13, 21–22
Tamaya, 13
Tarumi, 9
Temu, 12
Tenmaya, 13
Tinder, 8–9
Tokyu Hands, 13
Tokyu Plaza, 9
Tomorrowland, 10
Tsuruha, 1, 20–21
Tsurumi, 13
Tsutaya, 4
United Arrows, 1, 19, 21
Untitled, 9
Valor, 21
Vega Corporation, 4
Welcia, 5, 21–22
Woolrich, 11
Workman, 1, 21–22
Xebio, 21–22
Yahoo, 7
Yaoko, 10, 21–22


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