Strengths and Weaknesses of Nestle and Hershey in a Weak Japanese Financial Market

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The fact that Japan’s economy has been suffering from a recession for the last five years has not had much bearing on Hershey and Nestlé chocolates wanting to break into the Japanese market. Japan is no longer the third-largest economy in the world; Japan’s economic woes began in 2008 (Irwin, 2013). To break into the Japanese market these companies must understand the government and economic climate of Japan, while being aware of the taste and culture of the Japanese people. The Chocolate and Cocoa Association of Japan (CCAJ) reported in 2009 that Japan is the largest buyer of chocolate in Asia. “Japan produced 196,553 tons of chocolate with a manufacturer’s value of $38 million. About 19,375 tons were imported from the U.S., Australia, Belgium, China, South Korea, France, Italy, and Switzerland in order to meet the domestic demand of 212,657 tons” (World Cocoa Foundation [WCF], 2011). Even though, Japan is going through a downturn in their economy their appetite for chocolate has not wavered.
The decrease in business investment and global demand for the country’s exports in 2008 was the beginning of Japan’s hardships. The economy was on the way to a recovery in 2009 and 2010, but an earthquake hit the country 2011 this threw the manufacturing industry in to disarray. The country was on an upturn in 2012 by a surge of recovery spending, but slow economic global growth in the middle of that year took a toll on the demand of their exports. This decrease in the demand of their exports was further compounded by the fact that electricity supplies are a fraction of what they once were because the country shut down almost all of their nuclear plants; this was one of the aftermaths of the earth quake and tsunami that damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors. In spite of the fact that Japan is presently going through some hardships with its economy chocolatiers Nestlé and Hershey are working diligently to get a piece of their confectionary market. The chocolate industry has seen many global recessions and has been able weather them successfully.
Chocolate industry is described as being a recession-proof industry. Profits remain to be irrepressible in a recessive economy, dwindling incomes, and rising commodity prices; this is called the ‘lipstick effect’ (KPMG, 2012). Research shows that consumers are more willing to purchase cosmetics and chocolate when there is a downturn in the economy (KPMG, 2012). The WCF states that, “Japan is the largest confectionery market in Asia with a market value of $9.1 billion. The market is expected to grow by 14% between 2008 and 2013, increasing to $11.4 billion. In 2008, Japanese consumers spent $78 per capita on confectionery products. This was high relative to other Asian countries” (World Cocoa Foundation [WCF], 2011, p. 2)These are some of the reasons that Nestlé and Hershey think that venturing into the Japanese market is a worthwhile risk, even though they are presently experiencing a sluggish...

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