Move over K-beauty, Japanese brands are here to take over India’s clean B-trend

Move over K-beauty, Japanese brands are here to take over India’s clean B-trend
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  • Indians embrace the ‘clean beauty’ trend with natural, organic, green, and allergen-free ingredients.
  • Japanese products emphasize preventive measures instead of fixing damage.
  • Japanese skin and hair care products claim to be simple and require minimal effort to use.
K-pop and K-dramas have ushered in a new trend of K-beauty regimens, which have picked up across India too over the last decade. But it’s not the only Asian beauty trend that’s making inroads in this fast-growing market. Japanese beauty companies are also making a beeline for the Indian market to cash in on the ‘natural ingredient’ trend.

Late last year, one of Japan’s largest cosmetics companies Shiseido partnered with Shoppers Stop to launch its NARS brand in India. Not only has it plans to open 14 stores in Mumbai and Delhi, but it’s also marketing the brand via Sephora stores.

And there are more to come, says a report by Global Data. With India’s health and beauty market projected to grow at 5-6% between 2022-27, they aim to make a significant impact, the data and analytics firm adds.

J is the new K of beauty

It’s not that there are no similarities between J-beauty and K-beauty. They share the same DNA of being rooted in R&D, and Japanese brands also introduced revolutionary products like oil cleansers.

“While K-beauty relies on eye-catching product assertions, trendy ingredients, unconventional packaging, and quick results, J-beauty emphasizes efficiency, enduring effects of formulations, and refined packaging akin to Western beauty goods,” explains Mani Bhushan Shukla, consumer analyst at GlobalData.

In general, beauty regimens are picking up fast as Indians focus on self-care. Adding to that, social media and rapid urbanization are making them pay more attention to personal appearance. Not only are Indians keen on new-age beauty trends, but they also seek brands that are ethical, sustainable, and safe.

Moreover, consumers now pay a lot more attention to ingredients that go into beauty products. And Japanese cosmetics can rank higher in this regard, opines Global Data. They aid the ‘clean beauty’ trend, which encompasses product claims like natural, organic, green, and allergen-free.

Japanese beauty products place importance on preventive measures instead of fixing damage. “Recognizing the increasing demand for natural and organic products in India, J-beauty manufacturers have rolled out new formulations to meet the preferences of the discerning consumer base, including ageing individuals,” adds Shukla.

What’s the next trend?

Indian consumers are constantly hunting for the next big beauty trend. As per GlobalData’s Q4 2023 consumer survey, 74% of female consumers are consistently or frequently influenced by the uniqueness and enjoyability of a product or service when making health and beauty purchases.

If easy to use and less cumbersomeness picks up as the next trendsetter, Japanese companies could have an upper hand. Japanese skin and hair care products claim to be simple and require minimal effort to apply and use.

“Although both K-beauty and J-beauty incorporate multi-step routines into their skincare regimens, they differ in complexity. J-beauty sets itself apart from the former by embracing a more streamlined approach with fewer products, resembling Western beauty regimens,” says Shukla.

As per GlobalData’s survey, 66% of female consumers in India said that their choice of a beauty product is influenced by how well it aligns with their time and money constraints.