In the past year, price competition has intensified in Japan, especially in the apparel, furniture and food categories, and appears to have accelerated the country’s deflationary trend. Brands are shifting to provide both good quality and low price to attract consumers with tight purses and discerning eyes.
Last year the casual-clothing chain Uniqlo helped spark this deflationary trend by surprising consumers with the “g.u.” jeans line, priced at just ¥990 ($9.99) a pair. In response, rival brands released even lower-priced jeans at other big retailers (Aeon Co., Daiei Ltd., Walmart-owned Seiyu Ltd. and Don Quijote Co.). For spring, Uniqlo is now launching “UJ,” and changing the current perception of jeans in the process with a line that offers a new standard of quality, design and price—between ¥1,990 ($19) and ¥3,990 ($39).
This trend is a threat for the authentic jeans brands (Levi’s, Edwin and Right-on), which come with a substantially higher price tag, from ¥6990 ($69) all the way up to ¥30,000 ($300). These brands will have to react as soon as possible now that cheaper products are no longer cheap quality.
Photo Credit: UJ