Floor polish is the largest category within polishes in terms of value sales, with many Japanese homes having floors that benefit from polishing. Nevertheless, with consumers leading increasingly busy lives many people are looking to limit their household chores and as such demand for floor polish is waning, with consumers turning to more convenient options such as home care wipes.
Key to sales of shoe polish is formal footwear, which is largely reserved for work and important social events and occasions. With COVID-19 forcing many people to switch to telecommuting, and with social events postponed or cancelled, demand for shoe polish dried up.
In Japan, polishes is comprised almost entirely of floor polish and shoe polish, with sales of furniture polish and metal polish remaining negligible at the end of the review period as Japanese consumers do not generally polish furniture. Japanese consumers tend to prefer affordable furniture from retailers such as Ikea and Nitori, and rather than looking to maintain such products for the long-term, they are happy to purchase new products as their lifestyles change.
Floor polish faces an uncertain future with these products not fitting with the modern lifestyles of the younger generations. These consumers are increasingly looking for products which are quick and easy to use and which can limit the effort required to complete household chores.
Shoe polish is expected to see a slight recovery over the forecast period, benefiting from an initial surge in demand as consumers replace footwear and prepare to return to the workplace once COVID-19 is contained. Nonetheless, work-from-home arrangements are expected to become permanent for some employees, further diminishing the need for formal footwear and thus shoe polish.
With demand for polishes falling there is little incentive for players to invest in innovation and new product development. Furthermore, due to the relatively small size of the category companies do not generally invest any significant amounts in marketing.
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This report originates from Passport, our Polishes research and analysis database.
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