Fragrance in Japan

Date of publication: June 15, 1993

Author: Robert J. Wilk


This new interest in developing the fragrance market might be seen as the latest step in an increasing interest in the luxury market among Japanese manufacturers. In the 70s we observed extraordinary activity in investment in the fashion area (KENZO, ISSEY MIYAKE, REI KAWAKUBO, etc.); in the 80s a special focus on investment in overseas wine production, especially in France (SUNTORY) , and in the 90s fragrance appears to be the latest luxury venture outside Japan for Shiseido. In June of 1992 Shiseido launched their first international fragrance, "FEMINITE DE BOIS", made in Gien, France, with a workforce of 46 expected to triple by 1995 to 144. The $ 18 million investment is equal to current annual sales of all Shiseido products in France. For the domestic market, Shiseido has mirrored their French activites by creating a new "French" fragrance called "CHANT DU COEUR", aimed at women who would normally purchase an imported perfume. Very significant resources are behind these activities, as it is interesting to note that Shiseido is already the 3rd largest cosmetics company in the world, following L'Oreal and Unilever. We can expect that their influence in the global market will continue. With this boost from the market leader in Japan, the fragrance market offers new opportunties for the international player. With an especially curious and eager Japanese consumer, intent on becoming more familiar with the best in developing a better quality of life, a variety of opportunities suggest themselves.

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