The global market size of the cosmetics industry is on an increasing trend year after year, 26 trillion yen in 2015 and 34 trillion yen in 2018. Among them, the shares of the cosmetics market in the Asian region including Japan and the western region such as France and America are known to be the highest. Characteristics of cosmetics in those areas differ in due to differences in consumer awareness in each region and differences in strategies of cosmetic manufacturers. In this section, I will focus on cosmetics in Asia and the West and explain the differences between them.

The qualities of the cosmetic products vary even in same Asian region

Asian cosmetics are characterized by different strengths depending on the country, especially by quality or price. For example, Japanese cosmetics have high quality, assuring and safe images, but not low price. Meanwhile, although cosmetics in China and Korea have lively and momentum images and low price, their images on quality, assurance and safety are low. Like these, we can see that consumers in each country in the Asian region have the images of Japanese cosmetics as high quality, assurance and safety, but more expensive compared to those in other countries.

Therefore, in manufacturing cosmetics in Japan, while it is possible to give images of high quality, assurance and safety, but because there are images of not low price, if it is possible to reduce the price while keeping the quality of made in Japan, it is highly possible to appeal that the product is excellent in cost performance. In fact, as an example that excellent cost performance influences on the sales, there are increasing recent reviews on the higher quality of Korean cosmetic products that show they are getting out of the existing images of low priced products being low qualities, and their sales are growing. Also, the awareness on cosmetics by consumers have different results by each country.

For example, in Vietnam there are many people who like natural makeup, therefore, skincare products are more popular than makeup products. Furthermore, as a result of investigating the shares of cosmetics by category (makeup, skin care, perfume, and haircare), the shares of skincare cosmetics is high in Asia, and just a combination of Japan and China has a little less than 30% of the world skincare sales. Therefore, we can assume that the cosmetic manufactures in Asian region focus on skincare items than makeup items.

For the above reasons, cosmetics in the Asian region have images that are completely reverse on quality, assurance and safety, or price in each region, and furthermore, in the cosmetics category, it is indicated that the demand for skin care cosmetics is higher than in other countries. Therefore, we can assume that there are abundant knowledge and experience in the manufacture and sale of skin care cosmetics in the Asian region.

European and American cosmetics have strengths in brand power and luxury images

On the other hand, compared with cosmetics in the Asian region, European and American cosmetics have the strengths of brand name recognition, luxury images and fashionability. People indicate that French and American cosmetics have images as fashionable and having certain reliability that make them try new products. Although, second to that of Japanese cosmetics, western cosmetics are known to have high quality. While having high brand power, western cosmetics have images that many cosmetics are priced high. As such, although European and American cosmetics are fashionable and luxury brands, they are seen as highly priced.

European and American brands equal perfumes and makeup products, Asian brands equal skincare products

The consumer consciousness of western counties is very different from that of Asian region. In the cosmetic category, even France and America are combined, the shares of skincare cosmetics is a little more than 15%, and indicates it is not reaching the half of the combination of Japan and China mentioned above. On the other hand, the sales of perfumes in western region boast high shares compared to Asian region and also have relatively high shares on makeup and haircare products. We can assume from these facts that the strategies of cosmetic manufactures are focused on perfumes and makeup items.

From the above, European and American cosmetic brands do not differ widely by regions and have fashionable and luxury brand images. Additionally, we can assume that there are abundant knowledge, experience and marketing abilities of the manufacture and sale of other than skin care cosmetics .


As mentioned above, the characteristic difference between Asian cosmetics and Western cosmetics is seen based on consumer awareness of each country. The cosmetics in the Asian region are focused on quality, safety and price, while the cosmetics in Europe and the United States are characterized with fashionability, brand power and price. Since cosmetics touch directly the skin and same products are used for a relatively long period of time, we believe the products like Japanese cosmetics that have high evaluations from quality to safety are prominent.


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