Large scale retail sales of clothing in Japan regularly exceed four trillion Japanese yen. Department stores apparel sales in 2017 reached approximately 2.9 trillion yen, while clothing sold through supermarkets amounted to around 1.2 trillion Japanese yen.
The revenue of the Japanese women's and girls' apparel market was approximately 34 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, whereas the revenue of the men's and boys' apparel market was around 23 billion U.S. dollars in the same period.
The average price of women’s wear in the capital city of Tokyo was valued at approximately 911 Japanese yen in 2018, just about 100 yen higher than the average price of men’s clothing.
In terms of fashion companies, Fast Retailing scored the largest share within the Japanese apparel market, generating sales worth approximately 1.9 trillion Japanese yen in 2018. One of the dominant players in the country’s clothing industry is Uniqlo, contributing over 43 percent to Fast Retailing’s domestic sales in 2017. Uniqlo is Japan’s largest domestic fashion retailer and a wholly owned subsidiary of Fast Retailing.
The Japanese apparel market is always changing, attempting to adapt to customer trends and new technology that will allow the consumers' shopping experience to be more enjoyable. Purchasing and re-selling fashion online is part of current developments within the domestic clothing industry.
Japan is not only one of the world’s largest e-commerce markets, but one of the fastest growing, too. The country’s attractiveness for online retailers derives from its highly developed economy, primarily urban population, and single language culture. Easy delivery and convenience are provided by a strong service-oriented business philosophy in combination with Japan’s small country size and highly developed distribution channels. In 2017, households in Japan spent an average of 504 yen on women’s wear and another 227 yen on men’s clothing per month via online shopping.
In recent years, the awareness of sustainability became a contributing factor in the purchasing behavior of Japanese consumers. So-called re-commerce apps to resale unwanted clothing spawned the country’s first unicorn startup to be valued at 1 billion U.S dollars. The C2C flea market app Mercari recorded 71 million downloads and 10.5 million active users in its home country Japan and became the most popular online marketplace app for secondhand goods in Japan as of 2017.