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Companies & industry

Kao to debut Sensai in Japan as a first step to broader Asian launch

In September 2019, Kanebo Cosmetics (Kao Group) will be staging a Japan debut for Sensai, their super-prestige brand now sold in more than forty countries with a focus on Europe. The brand will be available in the country’s most prestigious department stores. Sensai will also expand in duty free stores and cross-border e-commerce in Asia before being launched in China in 2020.

Initially a local brand focus on Europe, Sensai is growing as a key asset of Kao’s global portfolio of cosmetic brands. The Japanese group prepares to introduce the brand into the Japanese market in September 2019 before a Sensai debut in China in 2020 followed by an expansion of the brand throughout Asia.

Launched in 1983, Sensai products are now sold in some 4,000 department stores and perfumeries in more than forty countries, mainly in Europe and the Middle East. All the products in the range are manufactured in Japan and are deeply rooted in the Japanese culture with Koishimaru silk as a key ingredient and skin care and make-up rituals inspired from the etiquette of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Sensai will debut in Japan with 75 items already marketed globally. The core of the Sensai range in Japan will be the anti-aging care “AS Series” comprised of three products: beauty lotion, emulsion, and cream.

Focus on travel retail

However, Sensai’s Japan debut will focus on the travel retail channel for overseas customers. Only a limited number of prestigious department stores as well as an official Sensai online shop will carry the brand domestically, announced Kao. “Points of sale such as exclusive duty-free counters in Japan and other major hubs in Asia will strengthen Sensai in travel retail. Customers in China will also have the opportunity to purchase products before the launch in China through a cross-border e-commerce site from this autumn,” states the group in a release.

This decision follows the global reorganization of the group’s brand portfolio announced by Kao in May 2018.

Vincent Gallon


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