TOKYO -- Sunstar plans to offer high-end cosmetics in overseas markets via the Internet, TV and catalogs starting this year, targeting affluent consumers in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
The Japanese company will take its Equitance brand abroad, a line that consists mainly of anti-aging skin care products for women in their 40s and 50s. It will offer a full complement of beauty aids, including lotions, masks and creams. Domestic sales of the brand have grown at least 10% annually to more than 10 billion yen ($94 million), despite a relatively steep price tag of more than 10,000 yen for a bottle of lotion.
Plans call for launching mail order sales first in the U.S. and Europe this spring or summer, with the cosmetics to be offered in China and Southeast Asian markets within a few years. The firm aims to double global annual cosmetics sales to more than 20 billion yen in about five years.
Sunstar markets Gum brand toothpaste worldwide, and 40% of the company's overall sales is generated overseas. It intends to use its network of 16 branches in the U.S., Europe and key Asian nations for the new mail order operations.
Japanese skin care products are highly popular among the world's wealthy as users increasingly place weight on functionality. But setting up shops and coaching store personnel on customer service would entail mounting outlays. Sunstar aims to improve its brand recognition through mail orders, which are relatively cheap in terms of upfront costs.
Among Japanese cosmetics brands, Shiseido offers skin care products exclusively through mail orders in China, while Fujifilm Holdings sells its Astalift goods online in Europe and Asia.