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Does Uniqlo's fitting room incident affect its brand perception?

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Wed, 23/09/2015 - 10:07
Ervin Ha
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Uniqlo had a very interesting July with the sex-in-fitting-room scandal that rocked its brand perception in China. After the video became viral on Chinese social media, brand perception for Uniqlo by Chinese consumers fell for multiple metrics from positive territories to negative territories. Although it has been more than 2 months since the incident, we can see from BrandIndex that perception for the brand is still low and has not recovered to sufficiently back to the positive.

Looking specifically at YouGov BrandIndex Impression Metric in China, we can see that Uniqlo’s Impression score in China fell from a positive 20.2 points to -25.9 points at its lowest, and the residual effect has not pushed the score back into the positive (-14.5 points on Sept 17). Similarly when we look at Uniqlo’s Buzz score, although it has recovered from a low of -24.9 points, the residual effects of this incident has kept the Buzz score in the negative (-7.6 points on Sept 17). This shows that this incident has long legs on how consumers perceive the brand.

Based on a YouGov poll run immediately after the scandal was reported on Chinese social media, half of all respondents reckon that the incident won’t have any impact on their purchase consideration for Uniqlo. We can see this from Purchase Consideration Metric on BrandIndex where the score took a dip (from 26.8 points before the incident) to a low of 13.4 points a month after the incident but still stayed in the positive unlike other metrics. This shows that even though perception from the brand is still low, consumers are still willing to purchase from Uniqlo.

Interestingly enough, when we look at the Uniqlo brand across the region (Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, China), we can see that although that was a spike in the Word of Mouth Metric after the incident appeared in the news, it was not as prominent as in China, with the lowest prominence in Japan, followed by Indonesia.

We will continue to keep an eye on Uniqlo in China and will update you again in 6 months on the effect of this incident and how Uniqlo has recovered.

YouGov BrandIndex is the only daily consumer perception research service of brands, taking 520 interviews every single day from a representative Chinese population sample. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of more than 30,000 individuals in China.

Uniqlo's Brand Perception in China
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Uniqlo's Brand Perception across APAC Region (Word of Mouth)
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