Matured ageing market

The crisis hit Japan hard, with sales of beauty products dropping by -8.1% in 2009 in value, but only -0.5% in volume, revealing consumers’ growing sensitivity to prices. The trend to favour lower-priced items of the same quality continued during the first half of 2010, with sales increasing by +1.32% in volume but continuing to decline by -1.6% in value.

However, a closer look to figures reveals that high-priced luxury items, in particularly anti-ageing creams performed well. Kanebo’s prestige skincare line Impress, for example, saw double-digit growth in 2009.

Indeed, it seems that in Japan’s matured market, with a rapidly ageing population, consumers remain focused on high-quality and innovative products but are looking for more value. Actually, the shift to lower-priced products mainly affects mid-range items, while high-quality products or breaking innovations are less affected.

Boom of anti-ageing launches

Collagen Deep In, by Kanebo

Collagen Deep In, by Kanebo

Despite the economy, cosmetics companies have therefore impressively increased the pace of new product launches. The number of skincare products launched in Japan with an anti-ageing claim increased by a staggering 85% from 2007 to 2009, compared to a 27% increase in the US during the same time period, Mintel Beauty Innovation reveals.

East Asia and Japan, specifically, have always been at the forefront of beauty innovation,” notes Hinako Sugioka, Mintel Beauty Innovation senior consultant. “The steady increase in Japan’s longevity, traditional eating habits and long history of whitening beauty are just a few of the reasons this region continues to excel in the personal care industry.

These launches include traditional skin care products but also anti-ageing food or beverages. For instance, Kanebo’s Collagen Deep In, a beauty beverage formulated to enhance skin moisture and firmness and targeting women in their thirties, was launched on May 1, 2009 and reached initial annual sales forecasts within six months only.

Kanebo to launch new super-prestige line

In this context, Kanebo is launching on November 19 in the domestic market and across Asia of Granmula, a premium priced skincare declination of its Impress line, with items that start at 20,000 yens (178.59 euros) and rise very quickly to 120,000 yens (1,071.56 euros).

Impress Granmula line, by Kanebo

Impress Granmula line, by Kanebo

Through this launch, Kanebo aims at reinforcing its global prestige strategy with a strong emphasis in Asia and China.