Recent trends on Weibo have found the once-beloved Japanese retailer Muji trending unexpectedly. There has been 340 million views on #why Chinese people don’t like to buy Muji anymore#, and the number keeps growing.
As a brand that offers clothing, lifestyle items, and a minimalist aesthetic, the company entered domestic markets in 2005 with its logo-less aesthetic and accessible products. Unfortunately, things haven’t been going smoothly lately. During the first half of fiscal year 2022, Muji group’s global operating profit dropped 19.4 percent, and its net profit fell 27.5 percent. In China, same-store sales dropped by 6.6 percent year-on-year due primarily to poor apparel sales.
In response to consumer complaints about pricing, Muji has reportedly cut prices for the eleventh time in the last five years. A number of netizens commented on the Weibo hashtag about these problems, saying that they only buy items when they are “discounted by 50 percent.” Moreover, risk information indicates that the company has been punished multiple times for selling products that fail to comply with consumer product safety rules, including a trademark appeal in 2019, in which it was ordered to pay a Chinese firm RMB 300,000.
All in all, perhaps the most pertinent factor is that shoppers are tired of its monotonous offerings. According to some Weibo users, a logoless brand was a very fresh idea at the beginning, but the magic wears off as time goes by.
The aforementioned reasons were just a small sample of why locals are fed up with Muji. Nonetheless, the impact does not apply only to the once-beloved Japanese brand – a change in taste is becoming more prevalent in China. In light of the ongoing pandemic, consumers are tightening their financial constraints. While international big names have lost convenience and brand recognition, homegrown names keep growing stronger.