Retail in Japan

Japanese wine consumers have a wide and deep range of buying options. Roddy Ropner explores the major outlets.

Akira Fujimaki, Masakiko Yoshida, Masanobu Egami
Akira Fujimaki, Masakiko Yoshida, Masanobu Egami

The retail scene in Japan has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. As licensing laws have relaxed, there are now more routes to market than ever. Approximately two-thirds of wine purchased in Japan is sold in the off-trade; the majority through bricks and mortar retailers. Popular channels include department stores, convenience stores, specialist wine shops, discount stores and supermarkets.

Almost every retailer faces the challenge of attracting new clients, exacerbated by a shrinking population in a country where most consumers are 40 to 60 years old. Winemaker dinners remain popular; however there is growing demand for more casual events which involve tastings with local dishes. 

Department stores hold a special place in retailing in Japan. Some trace their origins back to ...

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