Changes in Beauty / Healthcare Distribution Companies in Japan due to COVID-19

COVID-19 is making a big difference in the beauty/health care market in Japan.

Traditionally, Japan’s beauty/healthcare market has grown mainly around offline stores, but due to COVID-19 over the past six months, customers visiting beauty-related offline stores in Shin-Okubo Street, Shinjuku, Tokyo, which represents Japan, have seen a sharp drop in monthly sales of less than one-tenth, leading to a number of stores closing.

Medicaraise, which exclusively imports and distributes Korea’s leading cosmetics products to Japan, was no exception. Due to the sudden drop in monthly sales and the management situation that shows no prospect of how long the pandemic will last, the company decided to close the offline store in Shin-Okubo on June 1st.KakaoTalk_20200518_134012704

Medicaraise has exclusively imported and distributed numerous cosmetics brands from large Korean companies over the past 13 years. But now the company has been trying to make change the product lineup, from products of large companies to ones of Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in Korea since November last year.

Even on the process of testing the cosmetic samples which it has already imported from Korean SMEs, it decided to close the Shin-Okubo offline store. However, Medicaraise is not giving up its distribution of the cosmetics, but is trying to sell them on online as it has various online channels such as Yahoo and Rakuten as well as its own shopping malls.KakaoTalk_20200518_134009242

In addition, it plans to distribute the cosmetics from Korean SMEs to Japanese TV home shopping channel called Jupiter Shop Channel. In March, when the spread of novel coronavirus was severe, cosmetic exports from Korea to Japan amounted to $48.92 million (+62% year-on-year and +47% month-on-month).

As the case of Japan’s Medicaraise indicates, it seems that the traditional offline-oriented distribution style of the Japanese beauty market is changing to the online. Given the worsening economy caused by the pandemic, Japanese companies are looking for a new breakthrough due to the social atmosphere toward refraining from going out.

It is noteworthy whether the distribution of the Japanese beauty market will return to the traditional offline or maintain the online distribution format in the post-coronavirus era.

Mike Choi

Asia Journal

(Los Angeles Times Advertising Supplement)