Posted on: Mar 01, 2019

The Japanese Confectionery Market: Growth Prospects

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We bet you’ll be surprised to know that Japan is the 6th largest confectionary market in the world. That’s right. While on the one hand Japanese diet is regarded as one of the healthiest in the world, it is equally true that the country has a serious sweet tooth! According to a report by Fitch Solutions, Japan’s confectionery market’s worth is projected to touch $22.3bn this year. It has also predicted that the Japanese’ confectionery spends will grow by 3.6% between 2019 and 2023 vis. a vis. the 1.4% recorded from 2014 to 2018.

This growth can be attributed to a number of factors, largely an influx of visitors with a demand for Japanese chocolates as well as rising prices. As per the Nikkei Asian Review, one of the most common souvenirs purchased by visitors to Japan, apart from over-the-counter medicines and cosmetics is Japanese sweets. Almost 80% of all visitors make it a point to buy candies, with chocolatesspecifically enjoying a higher demand than the rest. As far as the Japanese are concerned, what has driven the demand for chocolate amongst them is its perceived health benefits, especially amongst the senior citizens. This coupled with the fact that Japanese consumers are choosing premium and high quality chocolates, further contributes to already increasing spends towards confectionery items.

Leading domestic confectionery brands such as Meiji and Glico have been quick to react to this demand for premium, healthy candies and have already made expansion plans to tap into the same. As per reports by the Singapore Business Review, Meiji has plans to pump in $245m towards expanding its manufacturing line in a bid to grow its healthy chocolates line. Glico, on the other hand, is reported to have developed a product named Gaba, containing gamma-micro butyric acid that reportedly works at reducing stress levels.

This is a vastly unexplored turf for most global confectioners. While a few have indeed made inroads into the Japanese confectionery industry, there is definitely scope for further expansion. Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, Ferrero and Hersheys are the key international giants in the market currently. South Korean confectioner Lotto recently announced its plans to expand its presence in Japan with a capital of almost $1.2bn over a span of 5 years. In spite of it all, this market is still conspicuous of the presence of other international players. Considering that the trends all point towards a flourishing confectionery market over the coming years, it is time that others follow suit soon if they wish to get a piece of this cherry-blossom pie! 

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