Expanding Your Beauty & Cosmetics Business to Japan: Key Things to Know

Japanese beauty products are all the rage in America. One thing that stands out is that beauty products and cosmetics in Japan heavily favor skincare and more natural looks. American cosmetics have more bold shades, offer more coverage, and come with high-end and luxury labels that Japanese consumers enjoy.

In 2019, there was a report that went in-depth to explore the trend of buying used makeup among Japanese millennial consumers because the demand for the products was so significant.

Japanese shoppers like the variety that American cosmetics offer because many beauty products aren’t widely available in Japan; American products are also typically much cheaper.

Skincare, foundation, eye shadow, lipstick, highlighter palettes, and all other sorts of makeup and personal care items fall into this category.

The market potential is skyrocketing

Cosmetics products are highly popular in Japan

Reports from 2020 show that Japan houses the third-largest beauty and personal care market in the world. While that’s a smaller slice of the pie than some other categories may have, cosmetics and beauty products are one of the fastest-growing eCommerce markets in Japan.

Even in the wake of COVID-19, cosmetics is projected to still hit growth predictions in 2021.

Cosmetics are also some of the best-selling products from international brands in Japan. Japanese consumers purchase personal care and beauty products as well as cosmetics from more foreign brands than they used to. This has to do with both price and the variety of products available.

With about the 89.8% internet penetration rate you read about, coupled with the rise of social media, Japanese young generations have increased access to western beauty information. This has skyrocketed the interest and demand for western beauty products.

Many Korean brands have already cashed in on the trends and found success in Japan thanks to strong digital marketing strategy and savvy social media tactics. Rakuten has documented the success of brands like Clio Cosmetics and Ohora.

Beauty and cosmetics regulations in Japan

Beauty and cosmetics regulations in Japan-1

Cosmetics and beauty products are subject to quite a range of regulations in Japan. Products cannot have labels that include terms such as “rejuvenating” or “anti-aging.” It is important to check that the products you intend to sell do not include any ingredients that are banned in Japan.

In order to sell cosmetics or beauty products in Japan, a business typically must obtain a license to distribute cosmetics; and will also have to submit ingredients check for the products and apply for licenses. As an overseas cosmetic company, a license is not mandatory to sell on Rakuten.

Even without a license, all beauty products must adhere to the Standards for Cosmetics. Labels must include ingredients, the name of the manufacturer, and other key information. There are also some ingredients that can’t be included in products sold in Japan. This is all due to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act.

Want to learn what other categories are popular in Japan? Have a read: 

Fashion and athleisure
Sports & outdoor