No.2171
07/16/2019

Alcoholic Drinks/Liquor Market in Japan:  Key Research Findings 2019

Domestic Market in Slump, Export Increasing, “Craft” Products Attracting Attention 



Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has conducted a survey on the alcoholic drinks and liquor market, and has found out the market trends by product categories, the trends by distribution, the trends of market players, and the future perspectives.


Market Size Transition of Alcoholic Drinks/Liquor Market
Market Size Transition of Alcoholic Drinks/Liquor Market

Market Overview

Size of the Alcoholic Drinks/Liquor Market in FY2017 attained 3,560,000 million yen, 99.6% of the size in the previous fiscal year, based on the shipment value at manufacturers.  The trend is anticipated to continue in FY2018, estimated to decline to 3,510,000 million yen, 98.6% year-on-year. The market is on the fall, and this trend continues as it is not hitting the ground.  No sign of recovery is seen yet, with the beer which consists of 30% of the market shrinking, followed by negative trend in the sales of Japanese liquors such as sake and shochu.   In addition to the accelerated outflow of consumption from the beers to the drinks of other categories with less-expensive/low-alcoholic beverages that is due to rise in the price at retailers by the revision in June 2017 trade standards, the summer of 2018 was hit by record-breaking heatwave, the demands centered on business demand fell short, resulting in the whole market to go down further.

Noteworthy Topics

Sake Export Hit the Highest Record

Although the sake market is in the slump, export has been good as the sake, or the Japanese rice wine, together with washoku (Japanese cuisine) became a boom overseas.  According to the Trade Statistics of Japan by the Ministry of Finance, the export in FY2018 in quantity was 25,747KL, which is 109.6% growth on year-on-year.  On the amount basis, the growth rate was 119% year-on-year, attaining 22,232 million yen.  Renewing the highest record for nine years in a row since 2010, the export value has exceeded 20,000 million yen for the first time.  Observing by country, almost 30% of the export goes to the United States, followed by the Asian countries such as Hong Kong, China, South Korea, and Taiwan.  In recent years, as more Chinese tourists visit Japan to find interest in its food culture, export for China is expanding rapidly, which in comparison is 2.5 times the size of the market two years ago. 

Future Outlook

For many years, the alcoholic drinks/liquor market has been declining steadily.  Although the sales results by product category may vary by each year, considering the future population decrease and the tendency for younger generations to drink non-alcoholic beverages, this trend is likely to continue in a long term.  Especially in 2019, as the consumption tax is to be raised to 10%, the market is anticipated to decline even further, for the consumers may refrain from purchasing the alcoholic drinks/liquor which is not subject to reduced tax rate.


Among the major categories, the trend in beer is attracting attention.  As Japanese Liquor Tax will be unified by 2026, many manufacturers are focusing on the development of beer, conducting strengthening strategies for major brands and other brands.  The manufacturers also expect on the market growth of the craft beers.


On the other hand, the assumption is made that the raise in the consumption tax may cool down the overall consumption for eating out and drinking.   For the time being, the manufacturers are likely to strengthen development of both the beer and the new genre.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: March to May 2019
2.Research Object: Liquor manufacturers, wholesalers, related enterprises
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by the expert researchers, survey via telephone, and questionnaires, and literature research

Alcoholic Drinks/Liquor Market in Japan

Alcoholic Drinks/Liquor Market in this research consists of the following 10 categories:  Beers (beer, low-malt beer, and new genre), sake, ko-group shochu, otsu-group shochu, whiskies, wines, low-alcoholic beverages, and others.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Beers (beer, low-malt beer, and new genre), sake, ko-group shochu, otsu-group shochu, whiskies, wines, low-alcoholic beverages

Published Report

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