Products popular with tourists saw big sales increases in Japan in 2023, with heart stimulants seeing the largest year-on-year rise among daily consumer goods, reflecting growing demand amid a rapid post-pandemic recovery of inbound travel, a survey by a marketing firm showed.

Sales of cardiotonics touting effectiveness against palpitations and other heart-related ailments grew 1.8-fold from the previous year, while vitamin B1, a product also popular among foreign visitors, came in fourth with a 48 percent rise, according to Intage Inc.'s report on around 6,000 retail shops.

Photo taken on June 27, 2023, shows vitamins on sale at a drugstore in Fukuoka. (Kyodo)

Sales of those two items struggled during the coronavirus pandemic when travel restrictions banned inbound tourism, but they saw a rapid recovery in line with the return of foreign visitor numbers, Intage said in early December.

Lipsticks were second on the list, with sales expanding 64 percent, recovering to 83 percent compared to the pre-COVID 2019 level as face mask use declined following the relaxation of public health guidelines, the survey showed.

For similar reasons, cheek powders came in seventh and lip creams 11th, according to the survey of supermarkets, drug stores and other shops between January and October.

Testing kits ranked third, climbing 59 percent from the previous year, following an increase in coronavirus cases around the summer, Intage said.

Other pharmaceutical items also rose, with drugs for colds coming in fifth, and phlegm and cough medicines sixth, reflecting an increase in patients not just with coronavirus but also seasonal flu and other infectious diseases.

Meanwhile, thermometers, disinfectants and face masks, which all saw significant sales growth during the pandemic, suffered the biggest declines in the latest survey, logging falls of 25 percent to 39 percent.

Among other trends seen in this year's list was the impact of Japan's scorching summer heatwave, with sunscreens coming in ninth, fruit juice in 18th, and bottled water in 22nd.

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