Company Overview: Since its establishment in 1975, the stock of Uniqlo has changed little, weathering Japan’s turbulent economic climate and a host of global shifts. With a relentlessly upbeat outlook and relentlessly innovative product development, The Fast Retailing Company (Uniqlo) eventually reached four billion yen sales in its first year. Find out what is Uniqlo SWOT analysis & competitors.
The company has since diversified into retailing and wholesale distribution across the globe through its international holding company: J Brand Corporation. The Uniqlo brand now spans over 60 countries worldwide with multiple business lines such as licensed retail operations in US department stores, 14 Uniqlo branded stores in Canada, 16 Uniqlo branded stores in Russia and China with 12 more conversions to come by 2020.
Uniqlo is a casual wear apparel company with the tagline “Made For All”. The company adapts its products to fit customers’ lifestyles regardless of gender, age or nationality. Uniqlo has developed product lines to meet the specific needs of each customer group, including HeatTech (for colder environments), UT (men’s undergarments), UT (women’s underwear), UJK (men’s outerwear), and UJKL (women’s outerwear). Also available are originally designed t-shirts, jackets, watches, and bags from Japanese designers.
1. Diversified Products:
Uniqlo operates in the casual wear market but serves different customer groups through various product lines. Uniqlo has created products to meet the needs of its customers without differentiation of gender or nationality, both modern and classic clothing for different ages, and sports-specific items for men, women, and children.
2. Hiring Expert Managers:
Uniqlo selects managers with expertise in their respective fields who go on to train new employees at every level. Uniqlo also encourages employees to work across different teams to ensure that everyone’s strengths are enhanced through workplace diversity.
3. Loyal Customers:
The Uniqlo brand is known throughout the world for its commitment to customer satisfaction. A survey of Uniqlo customers in the United States found that 87% would recommend a friend to buy from Uniqlo, and a similar number of customers said they would recommend a friend who shopped at Uniqlo in Japan. A majority of customers surveyed in Japan also stated that the quality of their experience with Uniqlo exceeded their expectations.
4. In-House Designers:
Uniqlo has continued to grow through designing products from scratch, with designs created by Japanese fashion designers and outside designers working alongside employees both on-site and remotely from other companies around the world.
5. Unique Selling Points:
Uniqlo has developed a unique merchandise mix, which includes products for men and women under one roof. As such, it has been able to minimize variations in profit margins or net profit between individual product lines.
6. Expand Through Licensing:
Uniqlo relies on licensing agreements to expand its reach outside of Japan and create new revenue streams. Uniqlo licensing agreements include apparel and accessories with American retailers such as Nordstrom and L Brands (formerly known as Limited Brands). Currently, Uniqlo operates 14 stores in Canada. The company also plans on opening new stores in the United States and China by 2020, including its first store in New York City like many of its flagship locations around the world.
7. Use Comparative Data:
Uniqlo analyzes trends in its target markets to help determine which products to release through licensing agreements. The company uses market data to predict demand for product categories and targets new stores within target markets with these locations not yet underserved. As a result, Uniqlo has the potential to expand rapidly by opening new stores in underserved locations.
8. Focus on Product Design:
Uniqlo aims to pioneer the development of cutting-edge fashion trends. As such, Uniqlo licenses merchandise from overseas designers who work with the company’s in-house designers on styles that are uniquely designed with Uniqlo consumers’ tastes in mind.
9. Strong R&D Capability:
Uniqlo remains focused on product design, which gave the company an edge over other apparel companies when it entered the United States and Canadian markets. Uniqlo has also improved its clothing production process by developing advanced sewing technologies that enable the company to produce products quickly in a cost-effective manner. Uniqlo continues to pursue a strategy of in-house product development through in-house designers who work with outside designers to create high-quality clothing items for its customers at a lower cost.
1. Low Sales:
Uniqlo’s sales growth is projected to slow as the company begins to reach saturation in its target markets and there is a growing trend towards online shopping. The company also faces increasing competition from international apparel companies such as Zara or Forever 21. Uniqlo’s growth strategy over the next five years is to focus on increasing its overseas market share as its domestic market share slows.
2. Foreign Exchange:
The company faces risks related to changes in foreign exchange rates due to its reliance on international operations and licensed stores in the US and Canada. The company expects to incur losses from a weaker yen in the current fiscal year but could see a significant increase in its revenues as a result of this weakening currency.
3. Extreme Temperature:
The fast fashion industry specializes in short product life cycles and the ability to generate new styles at a rapid pace to meet changing consumer demands. However, the need for constantly updated fashion choices is problematic as consumers will begin shifting towards traditional garments as climate change continues to affect seasonal clothing trends.
4. Brand Image:
The company has faced criticism for its perceived lack of connection to Japanese heritage, although Uniqlo has responded to this point by stating that it was founded by Japanese entrepreneurs. Despite the criticism, Uniqlo’s brand image is growing worldwide with its high-quality products and customer service.
The fast fashion industry is highly competitive with clothing companies facing increasing competition from online retailers such as Zara or Forever 21, which have helped small apparel companies gain visibility in the United States and Canada.
6. Expansion Outside Japan:
Uniqlo faces competition from international apparel companies such as H&M, which have increased their appeal to international consumers through their expansion into new countries beyond Japan.
7. Store Development:
Uniqlo is looking to develop new locations for its physical stores but faces increasing challenges in gaining the approvals required due to land-use restrictions.
1. Focused on Corporate Social Responsibility:
Uniqlo prides itself on its corporate social responsibility and sustainable production philosophy. The company has taken a lead in the clothing industry by producing high-quality clothing items and creating an environmentally friendly supply chain to ensure that Uniqlo’s products are produced with minimal impact. The company seeks to focus on minimizing its environmental impacts through policies such as reducing water usage, improving energy efficiency, banning animal testing for all of its products, and investing in human resources.
2. Robust Growth in China:
Uniqlo has expanded rapidly into the Chinese market, which has helped the company to grow sales at a robust pace over the last five years despite slow sales growth at its domestic stores. To continue this growth, Uniqlo is planning to open three stores in Shanghai and a flagship store in Beijing.
3. Expansion into Online Market:
Uniqlo has been able to reach consumers through its online store as well as its physical stores by creating a website where consumers can browse and purchase products with ease. This includes a virtual fitting room where consumers can virtually try on clothing items before making purchases. Uniqlo recognizes the need to compete with online retailers such as Zara or Forever 21 by offering high-quality products at competitive prices with a focus on customer service.
4. International Growth:
The company is expanding internationally by opening new stores in multiple countries, including China and the United States.
5. Other Opportunities:
The company may be able to expand into other countries soon, particularly in Eastern Europe and Turkey, where it faces increased competition from retailers such as H&M.
The fast fashion industry is highly competitive with clothing companies facing increasing competition from online retailers such as Zara or Forever 21, which have helped small apparel companies gain visibility in the United States and Canada. Uniqlo faces increased competition from international apparel companies such as H&M, which has led to a loss of market share in the United States and Canada.
2. Cost-Control Activities:
Uniqlo is under pressure to reduce costs as it competes with other apparel companies. The company’s heavy reliance on overseas production and the use of partially foreign-based suppliers has led to increased costs which have impacted Uniqlo’s bottom line.
3. Production Capabilities:
The company is relying heavily on its overseas production capabilities for its growth strategy and may struggle to increase production capacity in Japan as Japan struggles with its economic issues.
4. Japanese Economy:
Uniqlo is heavily reliant on its Japanese economy, which has suffered from slow economic growth, high unemployment rates, and unstable government policies over the past several years.
5. Expansion Costs:
Uniqlo is planning to expand through new store openings and online market development, but these expansions may come with increased costs and risks associated with maintaining the company’s supply chain and customer services.
Uniqlo is facing increased regulation from various governments for its use of sweatshops in overseas countries, such as China and Vietnam, which could increase Uniqlo’s costs or damage its reputation.
1. H&M: H&M has expanded its worldwide presence, but Uniqlo’s entry into the United States has increased competition for H&M sales.
2. Forever 21: Forever 21 offers cheap clothing at low prices, which may lead to lower sales for Uniqlo.
3. Zara: The fast fashion industry is highly competitive with clothing companies facing increasing competition from online retailers such as Zara or Forever 21, which have helped small apparel companies gain visibility in the United States and Canada.
4. Amart: Amart Australia is a competitor to Uniqlo in Australia and may take away sales from Uniqlo as the market becomes more competitive. Amart recently announced a merger with Kmart, which could result in further price reductions for consumers.
5. Cotton On is a competitor for Uniqlo in Australia. Its low prices and wide selection of clothing items may make it easier for customers to find lower-priced alternatives to Uniqlo’s clothing items.
How does the future look for Uniqlo?
Uniqlo is an established apparel company that has grown in the United States and is the leading brand in its category in Japan. The company is continuing to expand its store network in Europe and Asia, which may lead to increasing competition with larger clothing companies such as Zara or H&M.
Uniqlo has relied heavily on foreign labor for production over the past several years, which could have negative implications for its reputation once labor practices are brought up. Uniqlo’s reliance on overseas labor could lead to its non-Japanese workforce being replaced by workers from other countries, leading to more direct competition with other apparel companies that have access to cheaper labor costs.
Uniqlo’s expansion into the online market could lead to increased competition with retailers like Amazon or Zappos, which offer clothing items at competitive prices. The company is also under pressure to increase production costs and may run into issues with its suppliers due to Japan’s unstable economy.
Uniqlo has attracted thousands of loyal customers over the years for its diverse collection of clothing items that are available in a wide range of price points. These customers may influence other consumers’ adoption of Uniqlo because many consumers find purchasing clothes through Uniqlo to be convenient and easier than searching through large retailers for clothing items.
Uniqlo is strategically expanding its retail presence in multiple countries through physical stores and online marketplaces. Uniqlo is focusing on expanding in its major Asian markets, particularly China, which could result in increased sales for the company.
Some frequently asked questions along with answers:
1. Where can I get Uniqlo products in India?
A. Uniqlo stores have been opened in major cities including Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Chennai.
2. Where is the nearest Uniqlo store from my place?
A. You can check here Uniqlo store locator for a list of the nearest Uniqlo outlet centers near you.
3. I am looking for a Uniqlo outlet in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh?
A. Here is the list of all the Uniqlo Outlet centers in India available with contact numbers & address details along with their operating hours and facility details.
4. I am visiting Japan, can I buy any Uniqlo products in Japan?
A. Uniqlo does not have an outlet in Japan and the only way to buy Uniqlo products is online and through mail order. You can also contact your nearest location to buy anything from them.
5. Is the Swatch Group the official distributor of Uniqlo in France?
A. No, Swatch Group has not been appointed as the official distributor of Uniqlo in France and the only way to buy Uniqlo products or accessories is through websites.