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Latest Trends and Key Issues in the Japanese Retail Packaging Market - The outlook for primary packaging containers, closures and outers to 2017

Japan retail packaging market: $71 billion industry estimated during 2012


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2014-03-24 16:48:03 - Latest Trends and Key Issues in the Japanese Retail Packaging Market - The outlook for primary packaging containers, closures and outers to 2017 - a new market research report on companiesandmarkets.com

The rising cost of raw materials in recent years has hampered the profit margins of Japanese packaging manufacturers in recent years, whilst the consequences of the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 forced them to cut production to supply material and products for relief operations. Despite this, the market was still valued at JPY 5,656.4 billion (US$70.9 billion) in 2012.

Japan has historically been known as a quality-oriented test market, whether for the launch of a super-premium vehicle or the introduction of a beauty product for its aging population; the Japanese consumer has been traditionally characterized as prizing quality and convenience over price. In recent years however, Japan has been undergoing a major demographic and economic shift, due to factors such

 

 

as the continued economic uncertainty, the aging population and shrinking household sizes, and the continued consequences – both in practical and psychological terms - of the Great East Japan earthquake and the precipitant tsunami and nuclear power plant issues

The volume growth in the Japanese packaging sector is forecast to be 1.15% per annum over the next five years; between this limited market growth, and the significant demographic changes sweeping Japan, it is ever-more vital for organizations seeking to capitalize on opportunities in the Japanese packaging market to gain a proper understanding of consumer drivers as to better position themselves and their products to meet the needs of Japanese consumers.

The weak Japanese economy of recent years has led consumers to rationalize their purchasing patterns. For example, although Government measures helped bring about a faster recovery than was expected, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami have had a severe impact on Japan´s economy. Whilst we predict that overly hastened demand will cause an upswing before 2014, the planned rise of consumption tax – a precipitant consequence of the government´s efforts to secure recovery – will spark a reactionary decline of economic activities.

Furthermore, the highly escalating value of the Japanese Yen has affected the exports on which Japan is significantly dependent, and its nuclear facility´s damage from the earthquake has prompted a rise in already high oil and gas imports, creating a trade deficit. More recently, the Japan Research Institute´s research has indicated that despite the aggressive monetary policies of the Bank of Japan, the correlation between the Yen exchange and real Japanese exports has weakened.

Thus, Japanese consumers are facing static incomes and falling discretionary spending power, prompting them to curtail unnecessary spending and make value purchases. Consequently, Japanese customers will now spend much more time researching their purchases and hunting for value; whilst in the past Japanese consumers would spend money to save time, they are now much more inclined to spend their time to save money.

Thus, to capitalize on this social trend, packaging in Japan must impart value to consumers whilst simultaneously meeting the low cost requirements of manufacturers. Light-weighting and down-gauging will prove effective means of reducing cost as well as easing transportation in bulk, whilst the minimization of waste in low cost packaging will help firms meet their sustainability targets and create an eco-friendly image in the minds of their consumers. Now more than ever, the material, type, shape and size of packaging must be carefully considered to communicate value and make cost effective products, whilst still offering as much convenience and differentiation as possible.

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Mike King
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