We joined GS1 in 1978 and obtained the GS1 prefix “490 - 499”. We subsequently applied for an additional prefix in 1992, obtaining the prefix “450 - 459”. Initially, GS1 Japan was allocating 7-digit GS1 Company Prefixes, but since January 2001, we have started to allocate 9-digit GS1 Company Prefixes, given the rise in the number of registered companies and a recommendation from GS1.
Currently, in principle, GS1 Japan allocates 9-digit GS1 Company Prefixes to new applicants. However, for companies with 50,000 or more product items, GS1 Japan allocates 7-digit GS1 Company Prefixes. When a company continues to use the GS1 Company Prefix, it needs to renew the registration every 3 years. In the fiscal 2017, we had 11,399 new registrations. As of the end of March 2018, the number of registrations for GS1 Company Prefixes reached 133,146.

Recently, sole proprietorships are leading the number of registrations, accounting for around 37% of the new registrations in the first half of fiscal 2017. That number compares to about 21% seven years ago, recording a significant increase. Another trend to highlight is the increase in applications to sell products on online shopping sites.

The top product categories for newly registered companies during the first half of fiscal 2017 were: 1) processed food (18%); 2) clothing (12%); 3) daily goods and sanitary health products (8%); 4) cosmetics (6%); and 5) household products (5%). Compared to past figures, it is notable that “clothing”, which is traded actively through online shopping sites, marked a large increase. It was also notable that many companies listed online-shopping business operators, such as Amazon, as their main clients.
The other trend to highlight is the increase in registrations by producers of agricultural products, marine processed foods, and other local specialties aiming to expand their sales channels.
By source-marking their products, producers can distribute products through new sales channels such as Roadside Stations and outlets of agricultural products. GS1 Japan offers seminars on a regular basis to promote the correct understanding of the GS1 standard, in addition to onsite seminars held across the nation when there is a request. Recently, the number of onsite seminars requested by the producers of agricultural products, marine processed food, and local specialties have increased, supporting the trend seen in the registration data.
We expect the registration for GS1 Company Prefixes will continue to increase, given the expansion of online sales channels as well as the spread of source-marking in areas such as clothing and professional goods, where the source-marking ratio used to be low.