Apparel Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2020

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the domestic apparel market and found out the market trends by item and by sales channel, and the current status of apparel industry including apparel manufacturers and retailers.

Transition of Domestic Apparel Retail Market Size
Transition of Domestic Apparel Retail Market Size

Market Overview

The domestic total apparel retail market in 2019 declined to 9,173.2 billion yen, 99.3% of that of the previous year, deteriorated from relatively leveled status. The details were as follows: Women’s clothing & accessories reached 5,713.8 billion yen (99.7% on a year-to-year basis), men’s clothing & accessories marked 2,545.3 billion yen (98.5% on the same basis), and babies’ and infants’ clothing & accessories 914.1 billion yen (99.5 %). All the items slightly fell.

When observing the sales by channel in 2019, the sales of all the items, i.e., clothing & accessories of men’s, women’s, babies’ and infants at all channels except for “Others (mail order sales, etc.)” decreased from the previous year, with the exception of the sales of women’s clothing & accessories at specialty stores, and of babies’ and children’s clothing & accessories at GMS. The sales of all items at department stores continued declining.

Noteworthy Topics

2019 Market Trends by Sales Channel

The details of the overall domestic apparel retail market size in 2019 by channel are as follows: Department stores declined to 1,679.7 billion yen, 93.6% on a year-to-year basis; GMS to 799.3 billion yen, 98.2% on the same basis; Specialty stores to 5,051.4 billion yen, 99.7%; and Others (mail order sales, etc.) attained 1,642.8 billion yen, 105.4%, the only channel to have achieved positive growth from the previous year.

The sales of overall clothing have long been stagnant at department stores. For women’s clothing & accessories, voluntary store layout changes and launching of autonomous specialty stores have been in progress at stores in the suburbs, aiming to improve the sales. It is important to appeal to consumers by responding to the environmental changes where each store is located and to find out the value of being a physical department store.

At specialty stores, the sales of men’s clothing & accessories declined slightly, while the sales of women’s clothing & accessories stayed almost flat. Although specialty stores were affected by bad weathers and the consumption tax hike, the overall sales somewhat remained the same level as the previous year.

Only the sales of babies’ and infants’ clothing & accessories rose from the previous year at GMS. The size of sales is the smallest when compared with that at department stores, specialty stores and others, but GMS increased the market share by having the most extensive product lines and by improving price appealing power and quality.

Future Outlook

The COVID-19 pandemic affected negatively in the short and medium terms, represented by refrained outing, decreased consumption, and sluggish inbound tourism demand (tourists from overseas), which is likely to significantly diminish the market size.

When observing the apparel sales by channel, mail order sales (chiefly online sales) included in “Others” are likely to increase the market share. As consumers apt to stay home in the COVID-19 calamity, introduction of digital technologies including launching of online sales and OMO (Online Merges with Offline) strategy has been accelerating. On the other hand, the meaning for physical stores to exist has once again been in question. It is difficult for apparel companies to differentiate from the others unless combining online and offline by which to improve customer experiences. Launching of and shifting to ecommerce are projected to expand furthermore.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: July to September, 2020
2.Research Object: Apparel manufacturers (overall apparel items, men’s, women’s, babies’ and children’s, etc.,) retailers (department stores, mass merchandisers, specialty stores, etc.,) trading firms, industrial organizations, etc.
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by the expert researchers, mailed questionnaire, and literature research

What is the Apparel Market?

The apparel market in this research comprises overall apparel items, men’s, women’s, babies’ and infants’ etc., and is calculated based on the retail sales of apparel products and clothing at apparel-related companies. No sales by secondary distribution such as recycle shop sales are included.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Men’s items (suits, jacket, sport jacket, coat, slacks, pants, shirts,) Women’s items (suits, formal clothing, dresses, jacket, coat, bottoms, shirts,) Others (knit products [sweaters, Tshirts, polos,] jeans, baby’s and infants,’ underwear, etc.)

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