Beverage Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2020

​Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the domestic beverage market and found out the market trends by beverage category and by sales channel, the trends of market players, and the future outlook.

Transition and Forecast of Beverage Market Size
Transition and Forecast of Beverage Market Size

Market Overview

The domestic beverage market size (including milk and milk-based drinks) for FY2019, based on the shipment values at makers, scaled down to 5,100,000 million yen, 98.5% of that of the previous fiscal year, a decline for the first time in five years.

Expansion of the beverage market in FY2018 stemming from record-breaking heat waves had been a concern since at that time, because of the possibility of causing sudden drop from surge in demand, which became a reality. In 2018, record-breaking heat waves caused a rapid increase of beverage demand in July, the month in which the beverage demand usually peaks. In July 2019, however, inclement weathers brought about complete opposite results from the previous year, which affected until the rest of that year, unable to recover the loss of sales in July. In addition, from early spring to just before summer, the rise of distribution/transportation expenses and package fees led each beverage maker to raise the prices of large PET-bottled beverages, which also was the reason of sales decrease.

Noteworthy Topics

Carbonated Drinks including Sparkling Water and Energy Drinks Kept Favorable Sales While All Other Beverages Shrank

The market of carbonated drinks including sparkling (carbonated) water and energy drinks has kept on expanding. Sparkling water has been continuously growing, supported by development of various drinking methods and by health conscious consumers being in favor of non-sugar. On the other hand, the sales clearly differed by brand. Oligopoly has been in progress by the top brand “Wilkinson” provided by Asahi Soft Drinks.

As for energy drinks, “Monster Energy” and “Red Bull” have been the two prominent brands, with no other brands being able to pursue them. In FY2019, CocaCola Systems released some products to seek for success, and Otsuka Foods Co., Ltd. and Suntory Holdings showed some new attempts of focusing on esports, with the former releasing beverage for esports and the latter supporting esports events.

Future Outlook

The beverage market size (including milk and milk-based drinks) for FY2020 is likely to end up with 4,970,000 million yen, 97.5% of that of the previous fiscal year, two years in a row of decline. The market could have risen from reactionary fall of the previous fiscal year if it had been the usual year. However, the new coronavirus infections led the sales in April and May 2020 to significantly drop, which is likely to last for some time, difficult for the market to fully recover during the FY2020.

Under such circumstances, beverage makers do not likely to change their policies to focus on growing categories such as sugar-free teas and carbonated beverages. On the other hand, however, they are also expected to release the beverages placing importance on “functionality” or “health” more than usual years, as growth is observed for the sales of “functional” beverages rather than thirst-quenching ones.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: April to June 2020
2.Research Object: Beverage manufacturers, retailers, and etc.
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by the expert researchers, surveys via telephone, questionnaire, and literature research

The Beverage Market

Beverages indicate some drinks with the alcohol content less than 1%, contained within the containers that people are able to drink directly from, such as PET bottles, cans or paper containers.

The beverage market in this research indicates the market of carbonated drinks, coffee drinks, mineral water, beverages with fruit juice, various types of teas (Japanese tea, English tea, Oolong tea, etc.,) sports/functional drinks, nutritional drinks (including energy drinks,) drinking milks, fermented lactic-drinks, drinking yoghurt, soy milk, etc.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Carbonated drinks, beverages with fruit or vegetable juices, coffee drinks, tea drinks, mineral waters, sports/functional drinks, drinking milks (Beverages not included are regular coffee, instant coffee, and hand-brewed tea)

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