Among the APAC nations, Japan leads the way in monetizing social activities and driving social media users to buy. The best example of this is @Cosme (pronounced “atto kosume”), Japan’s largest and most influential beauty community site, highlighted in our new 2013 Digital IQ Index: Japan report. Calling itself “Everyone’s word-of-mouth site,” @Cosme currently has more than 2 million members and more than 6.2 million visitors per month. It lists over 200,000 unique products from more than 23,000 brands. It is no overstatement to say that @Cosme wields significant influence in Japan’s retail market. Tokyo-based, @Cosme was founded in 1999, went public last March, and its user-generated Best Cosmetics Awards are Japan’s equivalent of Oprah’s ‘Favorite Things’ short-list. Brands that win even display a @Cosme ‘Best’ seal on their packaging and marketing materials.
To date, @Cosme has amassed an astonishing 10.5 million user reviews. Behind this success is a smart customer loyalty program, where users earn points for each posted review redeemable for future purchases. Sixty percent of prestige beauty brands maintain branded space on @Cosme, one-fifth purchase display ads, and at the time of data collection, 30 percent were running platform-specific campaigns. Site users voted SK-II, Lancôme, and Clarins as their favorite brands, while Shiseido products have the greatest number of reviews (see the infographic above for the rest of the Top 10). The most impressive advertisement for @Cosme’s success, however, is that some of the world’s leading cosmetic brands–Estée Lauder, M.A.C, and NARS, for example–use prime real estate on their sites to link to @Cosme.