The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on childrenswear was less marked than in other apparel and footwear categories. This was largely because children require clothing to be replaced as they grow.
While childrenswear proved relatively resilient during the COVID-19 crisis, the category was not unaffected by the challenging economic conditions resulting from measures to limit the spread of the pandemic. Although parents tend to prioritise spending on their children during times of economic difficulty, the fact that women, and particularly women with children, were amongst the people most severely affected by job losses during the crisis had a negative impact on childrenswear sales.
Shimamura Co Ltd remained the largest player in childrenswear in 2020, extending its lead during the year. In common with its nearest rivals, Nishimatsuya Chain Co Ltd and Fast Retailing Co Ltd, Shimamura registered an increase in its value share in 2020, as the major players benefited from strong brand-awareness, extensive distribution and competitive pricing.
As the immediate threat from COVID-19 diminishes, childrenswear manufacturers in Japan will continue to face the challenge posed by a shrinking domestic consumer base due to the country’s declining birth rate. Moreover, the pandemic seems to have contributed to the issue, with official data stating that the number of notified pregnancies in the three months to July 2020 fell by 11.
Given the domestic challenges facing Japanese childrenswear players, overseas expansion is becoming an increasingly important development strategy. Miki House has announced plans to double its number of stores in Asia within the next three years, as it focuses on developing sales amongst affluent parents in China and other markets in the region.
The forecast period is expected to see an intensification of pricing competition in childrenswear. Before the outbreak of COVID-19, the childrenswear category was already exposed to intense competition from the second-hand market, which is particularly attractive to consumers in childrenswear because of the speed with which children grow out of clothes.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Childrenswear industry in Japan with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Childrenswear research and analysis database.
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