Japanese men in their 20s embracing the use of make-up

In late 2022, Japan opened to global visitors, finally putting a long pandemic period behind them. In this post-pandemic environment, Rakuten Insight Japan investigated skincare & make-up habits, by asking 1,000 consumers from its own proprietary panel in October 2022.

Japan is one of the largest beauty markets in the world, with the Japanese beauty and personal care products market projected to register a CAGR of 3.5% over the period 2023-2028. Japan offers the beauty sector an innovative market and consumers who are extremely sophisticated, well-informed and demanding of their beauty products. Natural ingredients and organic formulations are witnessing high demand in the market as are high-performance products, quick-acting skincare products, and crossover products with multi-appeal attributes.

Our survey found that post-lockdown, Japanese consumers are putting two years of cautious behaviour behind them and both men and women alike are ready to spend on beauty products, including facials, skincare and make-up.

High potential for male beauty spending

Globally, male beauty is seen to be an area of growth, but currently in the shadow of the female beauty sector. However, our survey found that in Japan, those male consumers who stated that they would buy make-up and hair products, spend more money per month than women. Moreover, this excludes razors and shaving products. 15% of men answered that they would buy make-up products, demonstrating the high potential for male beauty spending once an even higher proportion becomes willing to do so. On average the purchase price for make-up products was 600 yen higher for men than for women (3,650 yen for men, 3,050 yen for women). Similarly, the price of hair care products was about 400 yen higher for men than for women (2,625 yen for men, 2,254 yen for women).

Drugstores are still number one for purchasing beauty products

The rise in internet and social media in the beauty space is well documented with many examples of leading brands utilising the internet and personalisation technology. However, among our respondents, the physical bricks & mortar channel remains important.  ‘Drugstore’ was the top place for purchasing face care products, (56%), makeup products, (65%) and hair care products, (61%) followed by ‘Internet shopping sites’ (37%, 36% & 31% respectively).

Top reasons for using face care products

As could be expected the functional benefits of face care are the top reasons, for using face care products, for both men and women. For women, ‘keeps my skin clear’ (65%) is the top reason, and for men, it is ‘prevents rough skin and dryness’ (43%).

On the other hand, ‘I want to have a good impression from the opposite sex’ ranks lowest for women (6%) and ‘good impressions on the same sex’ lowest for men (7%). 

Social media - the main source of information for beauty products

The role of social media in beauty can also be seen when it comes to identifying the most important sources of information. ‘Internet search’ is the top source of information on face care, (33%), makeup, (29%) and hair care (61%). Followed by ‘Instagram’: face care, (25%), makeup (20%), and hair care (18%), and ‘YouTube’ (15%, 19% and 13% respectively).

In conclusion, a few key findings emerged. Firstly, male consumers who are willing to buy make-up products spend more money per month on products than women. Secondly, the internet and social media continue to drive the beauty sector, although for some traditional bricks & mortar is the preferred purchase channel. And finally, beauty brands need to continue to be aware of the importance of social media channels such as YouTube, Instagram & TikTok!

Related articles:  2022 Impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour

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