Kitchen Furniture in Japan

2009

Market Size
Japan is the 2nd largest retail market with 127 million consumers. It is the 2nd biggest kitchen market in the world (behind US) with more 1.8 million units sold per year. The market appeared stable in the years 2006-2008, with a slight increase of 1-2 per cent per year.

The high number of kitchen units sold per year are a result of high activity in construction and remodeling market for private buildings in Japan. Main reason: in Japan, a home is built usually for one generation, the average life-span of a building in Japan is just 30-35 years.

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MAR 18, 2009

History of kitchen in Japan
The Japanese kitchen look has changed drastically in the past 30 years. This depended much on historical changes in the Japanese society.

Before World War II., Japanese families followed a very strict patriarchal system.
There was a proverb “Man should not enter into the kitchen.” It meant men should behave as leaders of the family, kitchen is the place for the women. In these days, seat position and turn of eating were fixed according to hierarchy as like father and grand father should be 1st, first son 2nd, grand mother and other children 3rd and mother last. Toady, Japan’s society is much different.

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MAR 18, 2009

History of kitchen in Japan
After World War II., the Japanese economy had a revival like a miracle. Still the hierarchy in the family was somewhat kept.

In the 60s people started buying TVs and refrigerators.
Western culture had been taken into the life. Stainless steel was started to be used for sink. The typical Japanese kitchen of that time was a separated place where the family would hide the cooking from visitors. And still, a kitchen was considered as the place for house-wives to prepare meals only.

Kitchen in Japan today look much different.

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MAR 18, 2009

History of kitchen in Japan
After the “bubble economy” of the 90s, Japanese people started to think about real life. On one other hand company started to hire women as reasonable employees.

One the other, fathers started to realise that they have to share the house work to make marriage work.
It was also realised that use of kitchen and in-house eating can be a driving part of a modern family. Finally, kitchen started to be not the place for women anymore, but important a communication space.

Today, the kitchen is the centre of a Japanese home. It is bigger, roomier and well designed.

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MAR 18, 2009

Kitchen Styles in Japan
There are basically 3 type of kitchen styles popular in Japan today. 1. Closed style kitchen - Tradition Type Smoke and noise by cooking can be hidden. There’s no need to clean up by a sudden visitor. It is possible to focus on cooking, however communication with the family almost not possible, distance from dining is comparatively long.

2. Open style kitchen - Modern Type 1 Layout can be set freely. Cookers can see dining & living room, so that communication with the family is quite easy. This style could get good reputation from family has older person or child. As there is no partition, it is needed to install a strong ventilation system, and oily stuff as like grilling fish and meat are sometimes bring cooking dirt into the living area. Families have to make a effort to clean up often.

3. Semi-open style kitchen - Modern Type 2 Kitchen area is partly separated by a hanging shelf or half closed by a counter. This style can partially solve the problem of smoke/smell, but still appears open. It is possible to keep communication with the family during cooking.

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MAR 18, 2009

Kitchen Styles in Japan
One major Japanese kitchen manufacturer surveyed Japanese kitchen user (2007, 622 married females) What kitchen do you currently use? 31.8 32.3 33.1 28.4
Closed Semi-open Open

If renovating your house, for which kitchen would you decide? 17.2 15.5 15.5 21.9 15.9 17.5 16.3 52.7 51.0 59.4 54.2 46.5 52.2 54.8 30.1 33.5 25.2 23.9 37.6 30.4 28.9 29.1 30.6 25.8 26.7 37.2 (%)

35.0 39.4

General (622) Age 20s (155) Age 30s (155) Age 40s (155) Age 50s (157) Having a child (487) Having no child (135) Working wife(220) House wife(402) Closed kitchen (198) Open kitchen (218)

29.0
39.4 26.8

36.8
27.1 40.1 32.9 34.1 30.9

34.2
33.5 33.1

32.0
31.1 32.3

35.1
34.8 36.8

16.8
17.4 26.8 11.9

54.1
52.0 47.5

31.6

34.3
100.0 100.0 100.0

34.1

Semi-open kitchen (206) 13.6

59.7
50.9

Conclusion  traditional designed kitchen become less popular, while semi-open style gains popularity.

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MAR 18, 2009

Consumer Research Japan
Which kitchen are you currently using? My Voice, a Japanese internet researching institute conducted a research about consumer’s preferences of kitchen brands in the end of 2007. Number of respondents: 14,363
INAX Takara Sun wave National/Matsushita Cleanup TOTO

Male
Number of Participants In per cent

Female
7,756 54%

Total
14,363 100%

Tostem MIKADO Panasonic/ Matsushita

6,607 46%

Yamaha Noritz Hitachi Housetec Nasluck Eidai Beltecno

Conclusion (chart on the right)
Japanese kitchen makers are very strong in the massmarket. The big four are: Inax, Takara, Sunwave, and National. Foreign brands are strong and increasing presence in the mid-to high-end segment, mostly design & image driven.

Toyo Kitchen Kitchen House Other domestic maker Foreign maker No System kitchen I don’t know No answer

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MAR 18, 2009

Consumer Research Japan
What was the most important factor to choose kitchen (currently in use)? My Voice, a Japanese internet researching institute conducted a research about consumer’s preferences of kitchen brands in the end of 2007. Number of respondents: 14,363
It is user-friendly merchandise of the maker who can trust it It has better storage Easy maintenance and cleaning Good design Better in functionalities

it was recommended by house builder

Conclusion (chart on the right) Most Japanese consumers prefer functionality and reliable suppliers (product quality, installation quality and service) when purchasing a kitchen.

Good design sense Better after service can be expected I could confirm at showroom Wide variation for choose Famous maker

Customer needs are supported
New technology and fashion are taken in well

The biggest buying impulses are: 1) 2) 3) 4) Functionality Product Quality Storage Facilities Design

It is reputable among friend acquaintances It is reputable among specialists There is explanation carefully on the Internet It is good at PR and advertisement Food specialists recommended Others I have no idea No answer Questioned people are kitchen users

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MAR 18, 2009

Major Japanese Kitchen Brands
Inax is a large group company in Japan, specialising on bath and kitchen furniture. Three brands:

Link: www.inax.co.jp

Gran Piasse IST I600

High-end model medium model for reforming

Grand Piasse Inax are strong as total household furniture, toilet and bath brand. Also high sense of design.

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MAR 18, 2009

Major Japanese Kitchen Brands
Takara Standard is the top 2.

About 20 percent market share, but often considered as “old fashioned”.
Link: www.takara-standard.co.jp LEMURE Frea Edel Ritela high-end model medium model reasonable

Takara are competent for enameled steel products.

However they are quite conventional and not so innovative and stylish.

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MAR 18, 2009

Major Japanese Kitchen Brands
Centenario high-end model Style Kitchen high-end model Link: www.sunwave.co.jp highest grade collaborated with TEPCO electric stove

RinⅡ high-end model
Sunvarie pitto Mid-range model Actyes Mid-range model BM+ reasonable model

All stainless kitchen for professional look
Functional door pockets for storage Sustainable design kitchen Trend design and function

Sunfurni TioⅡ Low price
Well life special

For limited space as like apartment
For handicapped and aged person

Clear series positioning, stylish and innovative.

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MAR 18, 2009

Major Japanese Kitchen Brands
National is a major electronics maker in Japan (Panasonic), three kitchen brands: Link http://panasonic.jp/sumai/kitchen/

XIMO
Fit GENEO Ideco

high-end model “Lighting design kitchen”
medium model 5 Type of plan is prepared reasonable simple and designed free customize aluminum frame low price range

New AP

low price for limited space and apartment

XIMO

GENEO National are strong at electrical appliances. XIMO has high sense of design and lighting system.

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MAR 18, 2009

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Major Japanese Kitchen Brands
Japanese kitchen maker “Cleanup” has 6 series: Cleanup Link: www.cleanup.co.jp S.S. Cleanlady Caplan Colty CS Duo high-end model “Stainless System kitchen” medium model 5 Type of plan is prepared reasonable simple and designed limited space and apartment all stainless steel low priced kitchen segment

Cleanup highest model is focusing on movement on cooking, storage. Function and space are considered by the action of cooking.

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MAR 18, 2009

Major Japanese Kitchen Brands
TOTO is a large company specialising on bath and kitchen furniture. Three brands: Link: www.toto.co.jp Cuisia Legacess high-end model high sense of design 4 layout plans medium model 5 type of layout plan is prepared

Style F
Frame Kitchen CS Duo

reasonable simple and designed
Reasonable and innovative free planned frame system of kitchen All stainless steel Low priced item

Toto are strong as total house hold furniture brand, toilet and bath brand, too. Also high sense of design and idea. “Washlet”, an automated toilet system, was invented by Toto.

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MAR 18, 2009

Other Kitchen Brands in the Japanese Market

The logo list above shows most significant players in Japan, aside of the major Japanese brands. Foreign brands, mostly sell by image, modern design and excellent finish quality, not the price.

Most foreign brands are marketing in the mid to up-market segment in Japan.
Strongest importing countries in kitchen in Japan are Germany and Italy.

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MAR 18, 2009

Market Overlook
Mass Market Image Market

Cleanup

The scheme above symbolises the Japanese kitchen market segmentation.

Basically, mass-market means Japanese volume manufacturers, while mid and high-end markets belong to stylish foreign brands with innovative design and excellent quality. Japanese makers try to imitate foreign kitchen designs to enhance brand images and product value in the market place.

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MAR 18, 2009

Electrical Kitchen Appliances
Major kitchen appliances makers in Japan
Laundry cleaner machine fridge Microwave oven/ oven Rice cooker kettle Coffee related Mixing/ IH Dishwash Hot plate cutting cooking er machine Audio and visual computer Air condition er

P O O O O

O O O O O C C

O O O O O

O O O O P

O O O O O O O

O

O

O

O O O O O O P O O O O

O O O O O O

O O O O O O

O O O O O O

PO PO O O O O O P O

O O O O O

O

P=premium, O=ordinal, C=cheap, especially strong in sales in Japan

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MAR 18, 2009

Electrical Kitchen Appliances
Other brands
Laundry cleaner machine fridge Microwave oven/ oven Rice cooker kettle Coffee related Mixing/ IH Dishwash Hot plate cutting cooking er machine Audio and visual computer Air condition er

O

P O

P O O C C O P P C C

P

O

TWINBIRD

C C

C

C O O

C C

C

Conclusion

P=premium, O=ordinal, C=cheap, especially strong in sales in Japan

National is the home appliance brand name of Panasonic in Japan, and top player in kitchen appliances.
National is the strongest player for housing construction projects (that use of electrical built in appliances). Foreign brands have a premier image, but synergy effect is looked small.

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MAR 18, 2009

Few key points in regards to Japanese customers
• • • • • • Extreme focus on quality and customer service Need to show long term committement to Japan Excellent distribution and service network a must Some adaption to the Japanese market often required Extreme need and request for technical information and documentation Close and frequent communication to partner and customers necessary to maintain well-working long-term relations • Focus hard on hiring top people (a pool of very talented Japanese are available if you screen carefully). Use recruiting agencies and headhunters rather than printed or internet ads • OK to take a premium price still, although market becoming more competitive

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MAR 18, 2009

Contacts Contacts
G&S International Japan Amenity D Building, 6-4-13 Soshigaya Tokyo Setagaya-ku, 157-0072 Japan The Europe Japan Business Center Amenity D Building, 6-4-13 Soshigaya Tokyo Setagaya-ku, 157-0072 Japan

phone +81-80-5519-1260 email contact@gs-int-ltd.com web www.gs-int-ltd.com

phone +81-50-5532-1298 email info@ej-bc.com web www.ej-bc.com

Business Development & Consulting in Japan