"Squeeze out" Uniqlo's new underwear brands such as Ubras, Bananain, Neiwai, etc., where are they so powerful?
Editor: SunHing │ Date: January 14, 2021
Among the new consumer brands that will become popular in 2020, the new underwear brands represented by Ubras, Bananain, Neiwai, etc. can be said to have earned enough attention.
From "sexy" to "comfortable", the trend of the domestic underwear market has changed a lot in recent years. It is this "wind" that has boosted the rise of these new underwear brands. After a short period of popularity, new brands have been benchmarking against "old predecessors" and want to become the next Uniqlo.
But looking around, the pressure of competition in the entire underwear market is not small.
On the one hand, Uniqlo, as a brand that has created sales myths, is difficult to fall into the altar in a short time. On the other hand, traditional brands such as NanJiren and Hodo still maintain a relatively high market share in the entire underwear market with years of market experience and brand effects.
In the domestic underwear market where new and old brands are fighting, who will have more chance?
Why will new underwear brands rise strongly in 2020?
The popularity of new things often does not happen suddenly, but slowly evolves.
This is the trend of the "steel-free underwear" that the new underwear brands hit. When we opened the Tmall flagship stores of Bananain, Neiwai, and Ubras, it is not difficult to find that these so-called "size-free and rimless underwear" are very similar to the "non-mark underwear" that was popular in previous years.
However, in the underwear market at that time, brands represented by Cosmo Lady preached "sexy, gathered, and shaped". Although seamless underwear has won the favor of some people because of its higher comfort, more women still tend to choose traditional underwire underwear because they are worried about "sagging".
Changes in consumption trends often have a lot to do with consumer groups. The young people of the Z generation have changed a lot in their requirements for underwear. Compared with the "sexy sexy", they advocate "freedom without restraint". This gives the possibility of the rise of "no rim underwear".
When most of the market began to pursue rimless underwear, business opportunities for new brands also came. Therefore, the "sexy style" promoted by Victoria's Secret is not that it has suddenly ceased to be popular in the past two years, but that the aesthetics of the entire women's underwear market has gradually diversified.
Furthermore, traditional underwear brands are mostly offline cloth shops, and changes in consumer shopping habits have a great impact on them.
We have seen that the traditional underwear shops represented by Cosmo Lady and Maniform are mostly offline franchising. They have occupied most of the offline underwear market in a short period of time.
In an era when online shopping is still underdeveloped, these shops can be said to be "like a fish in water" in the offline market. However, with the development of e-commerce and the advent of the Internet information age, more and more traffic has shifted to online. Although it is difficult for online stores to gain the experience advantage of offline stores, new brands have learned to avoid this pain point with other marketing methods.
Bananain, Neiwai, and Ubras are mainly non-wire underwear. They either converted the relatively complicated underwear sizes in the past into simpler size standards such as "S, M, L". Or it's like Ubras directly put out the "no size" concept, so that consumers don't have to worry about "size selection".
When new brands are "simplifying complexity" and marketing is strong, traditional brands that are not comfortable and have a cumbersome selection process will find it difficult to increase their attention.
Finally, like other new brands that will become popular in 2020, the new underwear brand has also caught up with the trend of "live broadcasting + planting grass".
Originally, women's underwear was considered a more sensitive topic, and it was almost impossible for the entire network to mass-market in the past. But because "sexy" is no longer the only criterion for women to choose underwear. The main "comfortable" rimless underwear, whether it is a vest or a sling, are no different from sports underwear that can be worn outside, which gives these brands a chance to come to the "front".
It can also be seen from the advertising image of Nana Ou-yang endorsing Ubras that the brand's claim of "wearing underwear outside, not afraid of your eyes" is not groundless. When underwear is no longer "sensitive", the overwhelming advertising will be a matter of course.
Of course, not every brand performs well in terms of specific communication effects. For example, even though Neiwai has loud spokespersons like Jennifer and Faye Wong, the sales increase is not obvious. But Ubras, who chose to use young flowers like Nana Ou-yang, won the championship of this year's Tmall Double Eleven underwear category in one fell swoop.
In short, the rise of new underwear brands seems to be sudden, but in fact it is inseparable from the changes in aesthetics, the limited development of traditional brands, and the promotion of live broadcast e-commerce. Their popularity is largely due to a good time.
Everyone wants to be China's Uniqlo, who is more hopeful?
Before the new brand, the domestic "steel-rimless underwear" market was actually better known as Uniqlo and Maniform. And new brands such as Ubras, Bananain and Neiwai seem to have the meaning of moving closer to Uniqlo, the "old predecessor".
After all, while other fast fashion brands have “retired” from the Chinese market, Uniqlo still ranks among the best in the domestic apparel and underwear market, relying on high-density co-branding and sales ace U series. It is understandable that new brands choose to benchmark Uniqlo.
So, among these brands, who has the potential to become "China Uniqlo"?
One big reason that Uniqlo's underwear series is sought after is "comfort". Since underwear without rims is superior to traditional underwear with rims in terms of comfort, in order to enhance brand differentiation, new brands have upgraded the original "comfort" to "new labels" with their own characteristics.
From being unnamed on the list last year to Ubras, which became the champion of underwear sales on Double Eleven this year, the main popular item is "sizeless underwear". After the underwear size has been simplified to the simple standards of "S, M, L", Ubras directly "lost" all the sizes.
This greatly saves busy urban girls the time to choose underwear, which belongs to the promotion of "comfort" from the selection time. Moreover, from the user evaluation, Ubras's underwear does have the feeling of "like the second layer of human skin" as the propaganda put it on. Therefore, both new and returning customers are more satisfied.
Neiwai and Bananain did not miss the size-free wind with Ubras on fire. However, both of them use new concepts in comfort to enhance brand differentiation.
In order to increase user attention with the use of non-size, Neiwai slogan "Neiwai has no size, life is more comfortable". However, in terms of comfort, Neiwai did not advocate "skin feel", but based on lightness, chose "cloud feel" as the new label for the size-free series.
In contrast, Bananain's new label "No-Sense Support Technology" is more "scientific and technological". Although it also reflects "comfort", adding words like "technology" can open a clear gap with similar brands.
It is worth noting that the overall "sense of technology" of the Bananain brand is very strong, which is very different from the previous two and even the style of traditional underwear shops.
Of course, in order to become Uniqlo, in terms of product categories, it must not only focus on women's underwear. After all, even traditional underwear shops are always involved in underwear for men and women.
Among the three brands, in addition to women's underwear, Ubras has launched a "Girls Series", Neiwai has launched a "Men's Series", and Bananain is involved in "men, women, and children". Therefore, only in terms of category, Bananain covers a wider range of people and is slightly better than the other two brands.
Let's look at the channel advantages that Uniqlo needs to build.
On the online side, Neiwai, which was established in 2012, entered Tmall in the same year, while Bananain and Ubras, both born in 2016, only entered Tmall in 2016 and 2017.
In terms of offline, Neiwai, the earliest established, currently has the largest number of stores. It has opened nearly 100 stores in 23 first- and second-tier capital cities across the country. Ubras currently has about 10 stores, while Bananain did not open its first store in Shenzhen until the end of 2020.
Obviously, Neiwai, the earliest established company, has more obvious channel advantages than Bananain and Ubras.
Finally, let's look at the attitude of the capital market.
According to public information, Ubras has completed two rounds of financing. Among them, the A round of financing amounted to 50 million yuan, and the B+ round of financing amounted to hundreds of millions of yuan. Neiwai completed a 150 million yuan C round of financing in 2019. As for Bananain, it also formally completed a series A financing of hundreds of millions of yuan in November 2020, with a post-investment valuation of 2.5 billion yuan. Became the underwear company with the highest valuation in the past ten years.
On the whole, the capital market is still very optimistic about new underwear brands.
According to the "2019-2021 Global Underwear Industry Operation Status and China Underwear Market Monitoring Big Data Report" released by "iiMedia Research" in 2019, the population of women (15-64 years old) suitable for wearing underwear has been increasing in the past ten years. Stable at about 450-460 million people, which has laid a good demographic foundation for the underwear market.
The overall market environment is good, but from the perspective of the overall strength of the above three brands, Neiwai has established its own channel advantages, and Bananain has done well in brand differentiation and category richness. Although Ubras is the most popular in 2020, it is slightly inferior to the former two in terms of channel building ability and category richness.
For these new brands to become Uniqlo in China, there is still a long way to go.
It is not easy to "dominate" China's underwear market.
It is worth noting that although the ambition of new brands to become "Uniqlo" is not a bad thing, the pressure of competition in the entire underwear market is actually not small.
On the one hand, there are still many old brands that are still "strong" in the domestic underwear market, and their overall strength is not low. Although the old brands are temporarily robbed of the limelight, they are not far behind. This can be seen from the changes in the Tmall Double Eleven underwear brand rankings in recent years. (The underwear category is not listed separately in 2018)
Until 2017, the "old influencer" Cosmo Lady was still on the list. Even in the two years of the rise of new underwear brands, the traditional brands Fenteng, Hengyuanxiang, and NanJiren are still on the list. Together with the old brand Hodo also made the list for the first time this year, and won the sixth place in one fell swoop.
In fact, in terms of the maturity of the entire manufacturing process and the richness of categories, the old brands are actually better. What they lack is the change in appearance and the strengthening of marketing efforts.
In the past two years, there have been many examples of old brands becoming popular. For new brands, these old brands need to be "vigilant".
On the other hand, we see that under the same "net celebrity logic", more new brands will "grow".
"Boom Logic" can definitely create more than one blast, this is a problem that all Internet celebrity brands should pay attention to.
It is true that there is no need to recreate a "no size" or "no rim" underwear brand in the women's underwear market. After all, the market competition is already fierce. But in terms of breast shape, the underwear market actually has other room for imagination. For example, Queyi, which is also a new brand, focuses on "small breasts", while Candy La Vie is eyeing the "big breasts" market above the C cup.
Among the first three brands, Ubras became popular with a single explosive product. Although it has helped the brand increase its popularity, it will undoubtedly raise the threshold for its future expansion of new products, because the public will have higher expectations for them. For example, Ubras launched a new product that combines "elegance + comfort" some time ago, but the response is not good, and many users have expressed "skin grinding".
Therefore, for Ubras, who wants to use explosive products to further shape its brand, the road to new product iterations in the future may not be so easy. Once the brands represented by Queyi and Candy La Vie further strengthen their publicity, it is not impossible to get the same attention as Ubras.
On the whole, new brands such as Ubras, Neiwai, and Bananain, riding on the east wind of new consumption, are slowly gaining ground in the domestic underwear market. But next, whether it is product update iterations or brand reputation upgrades, the speed needs to be accelerated. Otherwise, it will only be a matter of time before the old brands are crushed again or replaced by newer ones.