Retail notes from Tokyo: [Show Report] Beautyworld Japan 2017

From 15th-17th May 2017 Beautyworld Japan took place in Tokyo, Japan. It was my first visit to Beautyworld Japan and my second Japanese C&T trade show – click here to read my show report of CosmeTokyo 2014.

According to organisers Messe Frankfurt, the 20th edition of Beautyworld Japan was a success: 634 exhibitors from 16 countries and regions presented themselves and their brands at the show. The majority of exhibitors – 526 – came from Japan, the rest were from overseas. And a total of 72,594 visitors attended the trade fair at Tokyo Big Sight exhibition centre.

Click on the link below to read more about Beautyworld Japan 2017!

NOTE: The images throughout the article are high-res and open in a separate browser window. Feel free to click on the pics and check out all the detail!

Beautyworld Japan is one of the most successful international trade fair brands of German trade show group Messe Frankfurt.  The first Beautyworld Japan took place in 1998; in 2006, regional trade show Beautyworld Japan West (based in the city of Osaka) was added to the roster while Beautyworld Japan Fukuoka joined the family in 2014.

There used to be a Frankfurt based Beautyworld trade show, too – Beautyworld Frankfurt 2004 was my very first C&T trade show ever! – but around ten years ago the importance of Beautyworld Germany declined and the fair, I think, was discontinued. However, Messe Frankfurt’s international Beautyworld ventures are still going strong, especially the Japanese trade shows and, of course, Beautyworld Middle East which premiered in Dubai in 2002 and has become the most important C&T trade show for the Middle East and the Gulf area.

Anyway, that’s a bit of background history on the Beautyworld brand!

Beautyworld Japan is the most important trade show for the salon, spa and aesthetic beauty industries in Japan. There were very few consumer retail brands amongst the exhibitors; most of the companies were domestic beauty salon brands plus a number of Western salon/spa labels, like Dr. Christine Schrammek and LCN (Germany), Comfort Zone (Italy) and Mary Cohr and Guinot (France).

In fact, the trade show reminded me very much of Beauty Düsseldorf, the big German spa/salon/wellness trade fair that I visit every year. Beautyworld Japan focuses on beauty services, professional hair and nail brands, beauty accessories, salon and spa equipment, spa cosmetics and salon face care; there were also health supplements and functional foods/beverages exhibitors.

And Beautyworld certainly was as crowded as Beauty Düsseldorf usually is; Halls 4, 5 and 6 – professional/salon/spa beauty brands – were packed with visitors. Also, many exhibitors offered trade show prices on their products ; )

The exhibitors in Halls 4, 5 and 6 were divided into different sections: there was Cosmetics & Beauty Equipment Zone, an Eyelash Zone (a very important product category in any East Asian C&T market), Beauty Supplements, Diet & Health, Spa & Wellness and – well – Cosmetics.

Hall 3 was dedicated to salon nail care and the Tokyo Nail Forum while Hall 8 was Creative Hair (hair salons/styling plus a couple of barber brands) and Hall 7 – Platinum Hall – hosted the China, Taiwan and Korea country pavilions and in general seemed to include more up-market and retail beauty companies.

I checked out all halls but most of my personal brand highlights were in the Platinum Hall. As I mentioned above, Beautyworld Japan is very much a domestic trade show; around 80% of the exhibitors, I’d guess, were professional/salon brands from Japan. Since I know next to nothing about the Japanese salon market – my professional focus is retail brands –I only recognised a few brand names.  Quite a few exhibitors spoke little to no English and embarrassingly enough I can’t speak a word of Japanese, so I wasn’t able to find much about the brands that presented themselves as Beautyworld.

As a result, this trade show review isn’t as detailed as my usual show reports. It features observations, impressions and speculations rather than hard data about the brands that I looked at. It’s a pity, because there were some really interesting companies at the trade show!

Like Ecott Cosme (see pics above). I had first met Ecott Cosme at CosmeTokyo 2014. Since then I have seen the company’s beauty ranges in various Japanese drugstores and beauty retailers.

Ecott Cosme manufactures regional cosmetics: the portfolio includes various product ranges which are based on key ingredients from certain prefectures in Japan – the Honey line contains honey from Fukushima, Apple is manufactured with apple extract from Aomori (a prefecture famous for its apples!), Rokkaku Reishi contains tomato extract from Kumamoto and Sakeasu is made with sake and sake lees extract from Tochigi. A regional focus and pretty packaging.

Wave Corporation (see pictures above) is a Japanese spa cosmetics manufacturer with seven spa and salon brands. Three of the ranges were particularly interesting. The umbrella brand Spa Treatment offers a number of skin care ranges, such as the 7-sku face care series which consists of a gel cleanser and foam cleanser, essence lotion, moist essence and essence cream, the primer UV nano base and a special B-Glucan essence.

Spa Treatment’s EX series, on the other hand, is a professional product range which includes the whitening Deep Bright HQ1 serum, a Placenta Concentrate (placenta is a very popular ingredient in Japanese anti-ageing cosmetics!), the Real C-Serum which, I think, is vitamin C, a peeling gel and the Skin Taut Cream with collagen and hyaluronic acid.

And HAS is one of Wave Corp’s anti-ageing dermo brands: it is named after the key ingredient, Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cell. The HAS range is stylishly packaged in red and white and comprises a cleansing balm, a foam wash,  lotion, essence and cream and a CC cream plus an interesting looking clear gel mask (Hydra Jelly) which is sold in individual 2g pots. Portable!

HAS also offers a range of face masks, including sheet masks, gel masks, the recently launched “Lamella Mask” which is a foam mask – incidentally, these “bubble” masks are now very popular in Korea; perhaps this is a trend that is reaching Japan…?  and cheek and under-eye sheet masks.

Finally, Nature Spa is Wave Corporation’s newest brand (it was launched this year): a herbal product range which offers a cleansing milk, a liquid soap, a skin lotion, a face gel, a face cream, an intensive treatment cream mask and a massage oil.

Policy was another interesting Japanese salon company and they had a beautiful exhibition stand (see pics above). The brand’s portfolio is divided into basic care products (cleansing, moisturising and so on) special care products (serums and intensive treatments), body & hair care, colour cosmetics and supplements.

The skin care line-up included some intriguingly named products – Immunity Essence, for example, or Riposo Essence, Telome Lution, Family Cream (although I think that’s probably a cream which is suitable for all the family, i.e. a multipurpose cream?) or Appeal Lotion. The products are stylishly packaged and the ingredients include various plants extracts, fruits, vegetable and roots.

I had seen Korean C&T manufacturer Lamy’s beauty brand Witch’s Cosmetics (see pics above) in various Seoul beauty retailers so I was familiar with the brand’s key product, the Red Ampoule. The Witch’s range was launched last year and besides the Ampoule, the line also includes Red Cream and Red Toner, plus Broomstick Hair Oil and Hair Emulsion and two Witch’s Bandage products, a BB cream and a sun protection cream with SPF50+. The company was at Beautyworld Japan to look for a Japanese distributor for the Witch’s brand.

Lamy’s other key range is the body care line Lafine Vegetables. Lafine is available in around 10 countries in Asia and South East Asia, the brand’s price point is low and the products are mostly sold in convenience stores, in drugstore chains like Watson and in 100 Yen shops like Daiso. In other words, this is a cheap and cheerful mass market brand which seems to be doing very well.

Spanish skin care brand Casmara see (pics above) was also at Beautyworld Japan. The modelling masks of the Spanish brand are popular in Korea and Casmara’s premium-priced face products are retailed in larger Olive Youngs and some Watson stores. However, I hadn’t seen Casmara at any of the Korean trade shows that I have visited so far – International Beauty Expo Korea 2015, Cosmobeauty 2016 and Cosmobeauty 2017 last month – so I was a bit surprised when I suddenly stood in front of the Casmara booth at the Beautyworld show. I guess Casmara is checking out the Japanese market!

I haven’t seen any modelling masks in Tokyo – or at least not in the regular drugstores – and judging by the excited crowds of trade show visitors who clustered around the Casmara stand to watch product demonstrations (I could barely get close enough to the products to take a decent photograph!), I guess that this mask type is still pretty exotic in Japan. Casmara also presented a selection of its premium anti-ageing skin care products.

Japanese company Gaura exhibited its new Gaura Walk range of colourful glass drinking bottles with built-in carbonator mechanisms – I’m not entirely sure how it works, I didn’t see a product demonstration – which turns plain water into fizzy water. Sort of a portable Soda Stream thing! I saw several other exhibitors that presented water bottles which looked very much like the Gaura bottles. Perhaps carbonated water is slowly becoming popular in Japan?

Or sparkling water might be something that is associated with wellness and spas  – because traditionally, bottled beverages in Japan tend to be still drinks; with the exception of soft drinks, lemonades and so on. Check out the bottled drinks in any convenience store and you’ll see that the majority of beverages (which, admittedly, are primarily teas and coffees!) are still beverages. I also noticed that more and more young women carry reusable glass water bottles – and in Japan, plastic bottles are ubiquitous so perhaps this indicates a tendency towards more sustainability?

Another interesting Japanese wellness exhibitor was Kyowa with its SÜ H2 air x aroma hydrogen inhalers (see pictures above). You pour the powder contents of the sachet into the plastic inhaler (available in pink and green), add 10ccs of water, close the inhaler and, well, inhale the mixture.

If I understood this correctly the powder-water mixture is fizzy and will freshen your mouth and lungs. There are two different flavours, lemon and mint. SÜ was launched just last month; the company is planning on distributing the inhalers in beauty salons and online rather than in drugstores or perfumeries. It’s very much a product intended for professional use.

One of my favourite brand discoveries at Beautyworld Japan 2017 was Fillit from Korea. Fillit is a start-up company which was launched in 2015: they manufacture refillable slimline makeup palettes which are attached to smartphone cases. Brilliant idea!

The palette’s colours are designed for touch-ups, for makeup on the go rather than a general makeup replacement. Which is pretty smart actually because most women I know (including me) like very specific colour cosmetics products and will use only these products when they put on their makeup at home.

However, when I’m out and about I try to stick to a few multifunctional products because frankly, my hand bag is already heavy enough! And I don’t really mind that these products are not from my usual brands because it is more important that the makeup items I carry with me do their job (mattify and/or add a bit of colour) and not take up too much space in my purse.

What I also like about the Fillit concept is that the palette can be filled with different products – the standard “configuration” is a clear sunbalm which can be applied over makeup, a cream concealer, a lip/cheek cream and a lip balm. However, the company also offers a variety of eyeshadows, blushers, foundations etc, in different shades, so you can customise the Fillit according to where you go to (the office, a party, an event…). I also saw a picture of sample Fillit designed for an overnight stay which contained an individually packaged cleansing wipe, a sleeping pack cream, a concealer and a tinted lip balm.  I was also told that eventually there might be Fillit cases in limited edition designs or palettes created in cooperation with makeup artists – I like this idea.

Just around the corner from Fillit was Korean company Measure China, another interesting Beautyworld discovery. Measure China was launched in March 2017; they are a market research/big data analytics company which specialises in analyzing Chinese social media and e-commerce data and distilling the results into beautiful graphs, tables and pie charts.

As a company you can monitor brand keywords, see the correlation between how often your brand and/or product is mentioned in social media networks like Weibo or Wechat or sold on Tmall or Taobao; you can monitor fan rankings and the market share of your brand (or a competitor’s product), check turnover listings, find out how a brand is doing in customer reviews or check out which social media channel/influencer/site might be the best fit for your specific brand.

It’s fascinating; especially the influencer marketing aspect. In the Chinese consumer goods market – and particularly where fast-moving trend-oriented product categories like cosmetics are concerned – the so-called KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) or influencers (bloggers, vloggers, media personalities, brand ambassadors etc.) have an enormous, well, influence on consumers. Like, concentrated market power!

There are thousands of KOLs with millions of followers – Measure China estimates that there are over 10,000 influencers with more than 1 million followers each and a Weibo study (Weibo is a social media network, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) from last year highlighted some interesting data on influencer followers; 36,410 of the most prominent online celebs received over 25,000 reposts, over 11,000 comments and over 45,000 likes each (I found the data on

By the way, the study also found that 77% of online celebs are female and most followers are male.  I would have thought that the followers would include both genders or that they might even be predominantly female … however, these figures apply to the FMCG market in general, I think, including fashion, accessories and consumer electronics. And not just the beauty market which, presumably, is primarily female.

Anyway, Measure China is still a young company but they already have an impressive roster of corporate clients (mostly from Korea), including consumer good giant LG Household & Healthcare with its beauty brands The History of Woo, Su:m 37 and O Hui as well as electronics manufacturer Samsung. At the moment Measure China is primarily focusing on Korea as a client base but the company also wants to expand into Japan and eventually offer their market research services to companies in Europe and the US.

I also walked around Hall 3 (Nails) but it was simply packed with visitors; the pictures below can’t convey the crowds and the noise! Very Beauty Düsseldorf! So I just took a few photos and fled.

Scroll down below to more impressions of Beautyworld Japan 2017. The next Beautyworld Tokyo trade show will take place from 14th-16th May 2018.

Leave a comment

Filed under Asia, Industry News, Retail, Trade Shows, Travel, Trends

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.