TOKYO: More and more Japanese companies are setting their eyes on “femtech” products and services that use technologies geared to address women’s health problems.
According to US research company Frost & Sullivan, the global market for femtech, a portmanteau of female and technology, is expected to be worth about 5 trillion yen annually by 2025.
With an increasing number of women paying more attention to their health amid the new coronavirus crisis, a number of Japanese businesses have started entering the market after falling behind European and US companies in efforts to introduce femtech products and services.
Sanitary panties that absorb menstrual blood so that women do not have to use pads and other sanitary goods during the menstrual period are in the spotlight.
In March, G.U. Co., the operator of the GU casual clothing brand, launched an washable sanitary underwear at 1,490 yen, with a special three-layer structure that absorbs menstrual blood.
“I want as many women as possible to take a look” at this product, said a public relations official of the Fast Retailing Co. unit.
G.U. plans to continue to develop products focused on women’s health.
The entry by G.U., a major company known for offering low-price products, is expected to help further growth of the femtech market in Japan.
Femtech products from across the world, including sanitary panties and facial masks designed for use according to menstrual cycle-linked skin conditions, were sold at a special booth at Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd.’s Mitsukoshi store in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district until mid-March.
The pop-up booth, run by Tokyo-based company fermata inc., won popularity among women.
“Some people feel hesitant about using (femtech products) as they are new options for them,” Hiroko Nakamura, co-founder and chief communication officer of fermata, said. With such items available at a department store, customers can feel safe about using such products, she said.
The company plans to open such pop-up booths in rural areas.
Major Japanese daily goods maker Kao Corp. has also made a full-scale entry into the femtech market, through its cosmetics brand Twany.
For starters, the company collaborated with MTI Ltd., which operates an app called “Luna Luna” that helps users manage their menstrual cycles, and launched an consultation service to answer users’ questions related to skin problems.
The service, which offers skin-care advice suitable for users’ skin conditions, will be available until May 4. The company will consider extending it if it receives favorable user responses.
It is also considering holding events to give such advice face to face.