The Japanese ice cream market is benefitting from the trend of using air conditioners less frequently in Japanese homes and workplaces in order to conserve electricity meaning many consumers to turn to ice cream as an alternative method of cooling down when indoor temperatures rise during the summer months.
In the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, the Japanese government shut down many of the country's nuclear power plants for extensive safety reviews. The government tried to offset the resulting energy shortages via the 'Setsuden' (Energy Saving) campaign, which encouraged consumers and businesses to conserve electricity.
Initially, ice cream producers were concerned that this would lead retailers to reduce their use of freezers, which would in turn impact negatively on ice cream consumption.
As it turned out, the Setsuden campaign actually bolstered consumption in 2011, as people used ice cream products to cool down during the summer months when air conditioners in homes and workplaces were switched off to save energy.
This trend continued to support growth in retail volume sales of ice cream in 2012. Retail volume growth was also driven by new launches, advertising campaigns and price promotions. Increasing price competition was also the main factor behind the slight decline in ice cream current value sales.
According to a recent report, 'Market Focus: Trends and Developments in the Ice Cream Sector in Japan', impulse Ice Cream is the largest category in the Japan ice cream market accounting for half of total packaged Ice Cream. Take-home Ice cream, the second largest category, is the slowest growing.
Its declining sales can be attributed to rise in smaller households comprising single or two person occupancy, who prefer eating out at ice cream parlours.
Lotte remained the overall leader in ice cream in 2012 with a value share of 17%. Offering a broad portfolio that covers several categories and includes reputable and widely distributed brands like Lotte, Hershey's, Lady Borden and Dole, the company held the leading position in impulse ice cream and ranked second in the take-home category.
New launches, promotional campaigns, improvements in distribution and increasing price competition will drive growth in retail volume and constant value sales through to 2017.
For more information on the Japanese ice cream market, see the latest research: Japanese Ice Cream Market
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