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- 7 Mar 2011
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Japan: The World's Truly Mature Luxury Market

The fourth in a series of short films investigating important luxury markets and interviewing local key players, we look at luxury in Japan, as presented by The Luxury Channel.

With the increasing importance of China, the original Asian luxury mecca has somewhat faded from the media’s consciousness. Despite this decrease in coverage, consumption continues to be strong, with Japan speculated to account for a quarter of worldwide of luxury goods purchases. Somewhat unsurprising, considering it was estimated back in 1998 that 94% of women in Tokyo in their 20’s, owned at least one Louis Vuitton handbag.

Fast forward to 2010, examining Capgemini and Merrill Lynch’s Asia Pacific Wealth Report, Japan was identified as the single largest HNWI market in Asia-Pacific, still ahead of China despite the growth of the latter’s economy. Japan was identified to account for 54.6% of the Asia-Pacific HNWI population and 40.3% of its wealth at the end of 2009, so whilst conspicuous consumption may be experiencing a natural decline, wealthy consumers are still present to drive the luxury economy.

An ongoing theme within the FT Business of Luxury Summit, Tokyo, was how big brands could continue to engage the mature Japanese consumer, who was moving away from branded consumption, as the entry-level market expanded and no longer symbolised true luxury. Houses like Chanel, Dunhill and Dior looked to their retail offerings, understanding the importance of service and experience for the Japanese, and developed flagship stores that incorporated art galleries, cafés and in the case of Dunhill, an English-gentleman style Barber.

Understanding the value of longevity within Japan, luxury producers also traded on their rich heritage in attracting Japanese consumers, posing a challenge to newer brands, both in entry and ongoing success. How would such non-heritage and non-logo driven brands penetrate and flourish in such a saturated market with established habits? But the overall consensus from luxury brand executives and key local players, was that Japan’s highly discerning customer will always base purchasing decisions on quality of product and customer service. And that the move away from conspicuous brand-heavy consumption, would allow the next generation of brands to establish themselves in the East.

We also invite you to view our other features in the series:
- India: where Eastern Tradition meets Western Luxury
- Moscow: Where Wealth is Worn with Pride
- Dubai: The Art of Living

In partnership with CNBC Europe The Luxury Channel are in a unique position to offer LS members preferential sponsorship opportunities through advertiser funded programming to enhance their brand on their weekly ‘Luxury Life’ series and on major international broadcasters BBC World News, CNBC, National Geographic, FOX Channels . Engaging an audience of 250 million high net viewers and syndicating through trusted 3rd party media partners, 40 million high net worth viewers through USA Hotel Networks and Forbes.

For further information on the The Luxury Channel platform please contact Eadaoin Kelly