The Brands Purchased by Sophisticated Asian Shoppers

Foreign tourists visiting Japan reached the record-breaking number of 13,414,000 in 2014, according to the Japan National Tourist Organization. This represents an increase of 29.4 percent, compared to 2013, when the number reached 10,000,000 for the first time. The increase was caused by the weak yen, as well as the relaxing of visa regulations, the expansion of the tax exemption for visitors from Asian countries, and governmental actions such as increased public relations to attract tourists from foreign countries. The top three countries attracting foreign tourists are Taiwan, Korea, and China. Tourists from countries represented by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have greatly increased as well; these include Thailand (45 percent increase), Malaysia (41.3 percent), and Singapore (20.4 percent).

Japanese media are focusing on Chinese tourists, who spend a great deal in department stores and luxury brand shops, as well as in drugstores and electronic shops in the Ginza/ Yurakucho area. However, a closer look indicates that shopping habits have changed a great deal, especially for repeat shoppers from Greater China who now begin by researching products on the Internet and by word of mouth before they decide where to shop, and who choose very carefully before making a purchase. Many companies have begun to notice how tourists have become increasingly sophisticated rather than simply traveling in groups by bus.

Japanese businesses must become aware of the fact that tourist spending is now spread among Tokyo brands. Ten percent of total tourist sales for Beautiful People, one of the Tokyo-based brands that participate at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO, takes place in the flagship shop in Minami-Aoyama in Tokyo. This indicates that the brand has benefited by participating in Fashion Week. It is important that Tokyo brands make their products more accessible for tourists by accepting foreign credit cards and such, after all it is hugely supported by Chinese tourists. Hidenori Kumakiri, designer of Beautiful People, said: "There were more tourists at the store than I had expected. Many of them spoke Chinese, so I am guessing they are mostly from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan."

Besides Beautiful People, Tokyo-based brands such as ANREALAGE, Mint Designs, and G.V.G.V., are noticing an increased demand. These brands have flagship shops in Tokyo, as well as boutiques in fashion buildings, and more than 10 percent of their total sales comes from tourists. The Japanese National Tourist Organization is preparing to welcome more than 20,000,000 tourists in 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympics. When the total annual number of tourists reaches that figure, one can easily predict a higher percentage of sales to tourists visiting Japan.

Images

Top : Beautiful People
2nd : G.V.G.V.
3rd : Mint Designs

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