Chieko Konagaya, Market Analyst for the Spanish Economic and Commercial Office in Tokyo.
Chieko Konagaya, Market Analyst for the Spanish Economic and Commercial Office in Tokyo will be analyzing the specific nature of this market at FENAVIN 2011
Chieko Konagaya, Market Analyst of the Spanish Economic and Commercial Office in Tokyo is very optimistic when she analyses the situation of Spanish wine in Japan. Not in vain Spanish wine imports have increased constantly since the year 2000, which is proof that imports can continue to increase as long as the demand for the same is motivated and as long as the products are the adequate ones for the market. On the upcoming May 11th, during the lecture that Konagaya is to impart, among other aspects she will be making an in-depth analysis of the situation of wine imports. "The Wine Market in Japan - The Tendency of the Last Few Years", which is to take place within the frame of FENAVIN 2011.
According to the latest data provided by this expert, although Spanish wine imports have been constantly increasing in the last few years, this fact was actually more noticeable in 2009, when a figure of a million and a half boxes was reached. This represents a 46.2% increase with regards to the 2008 data. Also, during the year 2010 Spain became the fourth country in that pertaining to wine imports to Japan per volume, with a market share of 10%, while if we talk in terms of value, the position Spain occupies is the fifth, with 5% of the share.
Westernization and the Healthy Effects of Wine
As can be duly seen in the work carried out by Konagaya, there are currently various factors that contribute to growth of the wine market in Japan. In the first place, the continuous westernization of the Japanese society and, on the other hand, the acknowledgment that wine is a product that is beneficial for health and the establishment of a wine culture, this in a country in which wine is certainly not one of its traditional drinks.
In as far as the specific case of Spain is concerned, if we take into account the studies carried out by this market analyst, knowledge of our wines has increased in the Japanese market, with its image improving considerably in the last few years. This is due to the boom that Mediterranean food is experiencing, boom that seems to have transferred from Italy to Spain, with the constant opening of Spanish type bars and restaurants throughout the country, which in turn has given rise to a growing number of small scale importers that distribute Spanish wine and Spanish food to these types of bars, resulting in the large distributors being obligated to revise their portfolio of products.
Notwithstanding, a Spanish company that wants to export wines to Japan must take into account that this is a highly centralized country, very competitive and demanding, in which Tokyo is the center of reference, the place where the trends arise, hence, a good place to start exporting would be precisely in this city.
Need for Promotion
Konagaya underlines that the Spanish producer must also carefully evaluate how to enter the Japanese market, recommending that a partner be found, be the same an importer or a local agent who can first act as an intermediary to then position the wines correctly. She also insists on the idea that the best way to be competitive and attractive to the importers is to put forward a good business plan that is duly supported on promotional activity.
In this sense the specialist sees a series of distinct lacks or deficiencies and, apart from the institutional promotion that is to be carried out, she also recommends finding the support of an importer or local partner. She considers that participation in Japanese trade fairs such as Foodex and Spain Gourmetour is absolutely fundamental.
In turn and as can be concluded from her analysis, the packaging is of utmost importance and one should not rely solely on the quality of the product, but in fact care should be put into the bottling of the product, which should be of quality and attractive for the consumer, with adequate labeling, apart from the fact that prices and sizes should be adapted to the market.
In as far as the type of wine is concerned, she affirms that before the consumer used to choose white wines, but now the consumer is opening-up to lower grade alcohol red wines and sparkling wines. The profile of the consumer is, above all, women between the ages of 20 and 40 that work in large cities.
Hence, although there are still deficiencies, it can be said that according to current tendencies Spanish wines have a great potential, therefore, Chieko Konagaya hails a good future for them in the Japanese market.