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% rise, according to a report on around 6,000 retail shops released by Instage, a Tokyo-based marketing firm.

Sales of those two items struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic when travel restrictions banned inbound tourism, but they saw a rapid recovery in line with a large influx of foreign visitors, Intage said in early December.

Lipsticks were second on the list, with sales expanding 64%, recovering to 83% 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% 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% to 39%.

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