The jeans category was hit hard by the closure of physical stores introduced in the spring of 2020 as part of measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19. Premium and super premium jeans felt a particularly significant impact from the closure of non-essential brick-and-mortar stores, as consumer traffic declined markedly in department stores, a key channel for such products, and consumers like to experience high-end products first-hand before making a purchase.
While the changed conditions resulting from the COVID-19 crisis had a generally negative effect on the performance of jeans in 2020, the casualisation trend underpinned by home seclusion and the shift towards working from home provided some opportunities. Itochu Corp’s Edwin brand launched the Denisura series and promoted jeans styles in business scenes, which was received well by consumers.
Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo brand, the leading brand in jeans, and GU’s eponymous brand (also owned by Fast Retailing at the global level), ranked second, both registered share increases in 2020 as they benefited from their extensive networks of stand-alone stores and their competitive pricing in an increasingly budget-conscious environment. Uniqlo’s Ultra Stretch Jeans enjoyed notable popularity amongst consumers looking for a combination of value-for-money, comfort and style.
The COVID-19 crisis is set to exert a lasting influence on apparel and footwear trends in the Japanese market. Home seclusion and the shift towards remote work and study increased consumers’ emphasis on comfort in purchasing decisions and accustomed consumers to products such as loungewear and athleisure products.
With consumers having become increasingly focused on comfort during the COVID-19 crisis and jeans facing growing competition from segments such as athleisure products, jeans manufacturers will need to place a stronger emphasis on comfort in new product development during the forecast period. An emphasis on comfort will also help jeans players to diversify potential usage occasions for their products, as the casualisation trend expands the range of potential situations in which consumers may feel comfortable wearing jeans, including in workplace/business scenarios.
The shift towards e-commerce seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, underpinned by home seclusion, remote work and study, store closures and concerns about viral transmission through social contact, is likely to have an enduring impact on consumer behaviour during the forecast period. This is set to lead to a lasting shift from department stores to online sales.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Jeans industry in Japan with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
Key trends are clearly and succinctly summarised alongside the most current research data available. Understand and assess competitive threats and plan corporate strategy with our qualitative analysis, insight and confident growth projections.
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This report originates from Passport, our Jeans research and analysis database.
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