S. Korean consumers shun Uniqlo, Muji products even in cyberspace

2019.08.09 13:41:00 | 2019.08.09 14:19:05

`For lease` signs on dispay outside Uniqlo building in Jongno-3 ga in central Seoul. [Photo by Kim Ho-young]이미지 확대

`For lease` signs on dispay outside Uniqlo building in Jongno-3 ga in central Seoul. [Photo by Kim Ho-young]

Japanese brands also suffered online from voluntary consumer boycott following Japan’s export curbs on Korea-bound high-tech materials

According to local mobile data provider IGAWorks on Friday, the number of monthly active users (MAUs) among Android smartphone users in July for app of Uniqlo, Japanese fashion label, declined 29 percent to 510,440 from 721,472 in the previous month. The figure dropped 28 percent from the average of the first six months of the year. The number of daily active users (DAUs) for the app fell even faster by around 40 percent from a month ago and the average of the first half of the year.

Muji, Japanese house-ware brand, has also suffered a blow from the consumer boycott. The number of monthly active users of Muji app reached 42,713 in July, plunging 41 percent from June and 22 percent compared with the average of January to June. The number of users per day also shrank by 44 percent from a month earlier and 27 percent from the first half.

Bitter sentiment towards Japan that stretches back decades due to the Japanese colonization of Korea has been rekindled by the Japanese government’s curbing of three key materials used for manufacturing chips and displays, Korea’s mainstay export items, and removing Korea from its list of trusted trade allies. The recent data showed that the strong boycott campaign has been affecting not only brick-and-mortar stores that sell made-in-Japan products but also online shopping platforms.

The poster target was Uniqlo, one of the most popular fast fashion brands in Korea. Consumer anger against the brand flared up following its executive’s remarks that the boycott movement would not last for long. Although the brand made public apologies twice, Korean consumers did not return. A local department store said sales of Uniqlo at the store fell 30 percent in July against the same month a year ago.

By Oh Dae-seok and Choi Mira

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