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Japanese Cosmetics Giants Adapt to Booming Tourism with Innovative Offerings

k 4922.TSE s 4911.TSE Beauty 40 Consumer 250 Blue Chip 150 Mid and Small Cap 2000
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As Japan sees a surge in tourist arrivals, cosmetics leaders Kose and Shiseido are seizing the opportunity by introducing new products and services tailored to cater to these visitors, even before they set foot in the country.

Kose recently unveiled its latest range of hotel amenities, aptly named Nature & Co., slated for a full-scale launch in early 2024. These offerings, including shampoos, body soaps, and cleansing oils, will be primarily available in mid-range hotels frequented by international travelers. Additionally, the company is contemplating distributing the brand through duty-free outlets or even in select overseas markets.

China, a pivotal market for Japanese beauty products, has now reopened its doors to tourism with Japan, signifying a positive turn of events for the industry.

For Shiseido, they have introduced a novel online consultation service, specifically tailored for visitors to Japan. This service employs beauty specialists fluent in Chinese to provide in-depth, face-to-face guidance on skincare and related concerns. Users also have the option to select beauty products during their consultation, which they can subsequently purchase and collect from an airport tax-free store before leaving Japan.

It has come to Shiseido’s attention that prior to the pandemic, many foreign visitors, while browsing beauty counters at tax-free shops, were dissatisfied with the guidance provided by sales representatives. To address this, the company introduced this highly personalized consultation service.

While travelers conversing in languages other than Chinese can currently avail themselves of Shiseido’s consultation service via text chat, the company is contemplating expanding this offering to include face-to-face consultations for additional languages.

According to data from the Japan National Tourism Organization, August witnessed 2.16 million visitors to Japan, constituting a noteworthy 86% of the figures from the corresponding month in 2019. This August, inbound traffic exceeded last year’s levels by over tenfold. This is a marked improvement from January of this year, when arrivals stood at approximately half of the pre-pandemic volume.

Japan witnessed an 80% surge in South Korean tourists in August compared to August 2019. Furthermore, visitors from the U.S. and Canada have greatly exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

In the case of Chinese visitors, their numbers remain more than 60% below pre-COVID levels, largely due to the ongoing dispute over Japan’s management of treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Nevertheless, both Kose and Shiseido anticipate a gradual recovery in Chinese tourist traffic over the long term.

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