Depreciating Yen Sends More Taiwanese to Japan for Shopping Holidays

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The depreciating yen has sent more Taiwanese tourists to Japan for travel and shopping over the past year, with about 4.4 million trips taken to the country, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

According to statistics from the Tourism Bureau, the number of Taiwanese trips taken abroad increased to 15 million in the first six months of 2017, a significant increase from the 9.6 million trips six years ago. The top destinations for Taiwanese travelers are Japan, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), and South Korea.

Kantar states that 1.4 million households traveled in the last year specifically for shopping. Their research found that 30% of overseas shoppers purchased health food and supplements worth an average of NT$3000 per person during trips. Other popular purchases included candy and beauty products. While most of the products can be purchased in Taiwan, the prices can be six to seven times higher than in their country of origin.

One of the more popular products for travelers to Japan is Wakamoto, a dietary supplement that claims to aid digestion as well as other indications.

Meanwhile, international sweets sales have increased six-fold over the last year among Taiwanese tourists, though account for about 20% of overseas purchases. Most of the purchases are made because they’re easy carry and give as gifts. The research notes that sales of international brand sweets have increased 250% in Taiwan as more variety has become available at domestic convenience stores.

The most popular overseas purchases are cosmetics and beauty products, which account for about 40% of purchases. Japanese and Korean brands are the most popular.

Kantar says that most shoppers are influenced by social media, with many searching on Google for local gifts and products before traveling. In addition, travelers to Japan tend to search the hashtag #日本必買 to see what others have purchased (the hashtag can swap country names for travelers to other destinations).

The exchange rate of NT$1 to the Japanese yen is 3.72, while for the Korean won is 36.2. The Korean won has appreciated since the end of September while the Japanese yen has steadily depreciated over the last year. The Taiwan dollar has also appreciated slightly versus the RMB since the beginning of May.

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