‘Boycott Japan’ loses steam amid aggressive promotional events

08-Nov-2019 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The “Boycott Japan” movement, sparked by Japan imposing restrictions on the exports of key industrial materials to some Korean firms, has begun losing momentum amid brisk sales promotions and steep discounts by Japanese companies here, according to industry analysts, Thursday.

It appears that the movement has lost steam online in particular since peaking in the July-August period, they said.

“If there is no kindling to the fire, public attention gradually fades,” said an analyst at eMFORCE, a big data market analysis company.

“Although consumers still actively use social media to scrutinise remarks made by Japanese companies, many have toned down their criticism.”

eMFORCE predicted the boycott will eventually die down, but said it could take much longer for Japanese goods to regain their former popularity here.

According to data from the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA), Japanese auto sales increased to 1,977 in October, up 79 percent from the previous month.

Toyota’s sales rose 9.1 percent to 408 cars, while sales at Honda jumped 385.5 percent to 806 vehicles from 166, and Nissan’s sales soared 202.2 percent to 139. Sales of Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, were up 250 percent to 168.

“We’ve been offering a set of promotions to commemorate the 30th anniversary of INFINITI and the 11th anniversary of operating in Korea,” a Nissan Korea official said.

“We are relieved that they have been well-received by our customers. However, it’s difficult to comment on the boycott movement and its effect on sales. We’re currently monitoring the issue closely.”

Uniqlo, a Japanese fashion retailer hit hardest by the boycott movement, has seen sales recover following discount offers.

Based on data collected from eight credit card companies here, Rep. Park Kwang-on said that Uniqlo’s sales amounted to 8.1 billion won ($6.9 million) between October1 and 14. For all of September, the figure was 9.1 billion won.

Regarding the sales recovery, Uniqlo said it cannot reveal sales data due to the company’s policies.

“We cannot reveal sales data or the number of online/offline buyers due to strict internal policies,” a Uniqlo official said. “However, the number of stores is similar to that of last year. It’s a bit early to comment on whether the boycott movement is in decline or not”

Uniqlo has renovated stores, and began a marketing offensive driven by Furis, Heattech, and other signature products to celebrate its fall and winter season collection.

In October, Uniqlo held a 15th Anniversary event both on and offline, offering discounts of as much as 50 percent on its signature products.

The “Boycott Japan” movement came after Japan decided to restrict exports to Korea of a few high-tech materials used in semiconductors and displays in July. In August, Tokyo removed Seoul from its whitelist of trading partners receiving preferential treatment.

The actions were widely seen here as retaliation for South Korean Supreme Court rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate surviving South Korean victims forced to work for them during the 1910-45 Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula.



Category: Korea

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