Although usually it is very difficult to predict what kind of goods might become popular in the near future, I feel quite confident about a coming boom of coolish underwear: In the case of Uniqlo “Sarafine” for women and “Silky Dry” for men (note the newspaper ad on the side). With the to expected limited air conditioning this summer due to the electricity shortage, plus considering the rather strict fashion code for business in Japan, I expect many locals to be in need for a fresh feeling option of underwear. Although Uniqlo is not doing that well since last year, it seems that the net profit in the September-February period had dropped 24.7% to 41.67 billion yen (weak domestic sales of fall and winter clothes), I see a big comeback for Uniqlo late spring and summer. In the past Uniqlo had started a new trend with the high quality, low price fleece jackets, then later heat tech as a warm underwear option in the winter and now the same effect can be expected with underwear that allows the sweat to be moved away from the body without feeling wet or sticky. For sure I am already curious, when exactly coolish underwear becomes trendy and stores will have problems getting enough items into the store.
For those who actually have not yet visit a Uniqlo store in Japan, note that Uniqlo is expanding rather quickly internationally, especially with lots of success in Asia. According to online news, Uniqlo International increased their operating income by 33.9% with new stores opening and same-store sales expanding rapidly in the markets of China, Hong Kong and South Korea. For those wondering whether I have any connections to Uniqlo, let me reassure you that there are none. Although I do not like everything about Uniqlo and their products, I have to say I admire and support their approach of providing good quality fashion to a low price. For sure all these trend items (fleece goods, heat tech, coolish underwear) were picked up rather soon from the competition.
Maybe at the end Uniqlo might not be the biggest winner, because the question of this season is only, who promotes their cool product most effectively. At the end, no matter what temperature will be this summer, it is up to the customer whether they want to make a purchase and where.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)