Huge demand for Uniqlo’s face mask draws queues, crashes site in Japan

Image from Uniqlo
  • Massive demand for Uniqlo’s face mask draws long queues in Japan
  • The store’s website has also crashed while supply quickly ran out of stocks
  • Uniqlo plans to bring its latest product overseas

Long queues formed in many Uniqlo stores in Japan on Friday following the launch of its much-anticipated AIRism face mask which is made from the same material used in its popular AIRism underwear and athletic wear line.

The massive demand also posed a problem for online customers as several stores reported website crashing due to large number of accesses.

By midday, as per Nikkei report, some stores already ran out of stock even as several customers still lined up outside hoping to grab a pack.

Image from Nikkei Asian Review| Kento Awashima

“There is currently a problem with the connection to our online store due to a large number of accesses from customers,” said Uniqlo in a statement on its website. “We apologize for any inconvenience. Please wait a while and try to access the website later.”

The clothing brand promised to produce 500,000 masks every week to accommodate more customers even as they admitted they were overwhelmed by the demand.

A pack of three AIRism breathable face mask cost 990 yen (PhP463) and comes in small, medium or large sizes.

Image from Nikkei Asian Review| Kento Awashima

AIRism mask, like its underwear counterpart, is being marketed as cool and fast drying. It is both breathable and washable, and consists of three layers working as filters to block bacteria, pollen and ultraviolet rays.

Fast Retailing, Uniqlo’s parent company, said they are planning to introduce AIRism face mask to their overseas outlets.

Japan, like in the most parts of the world, is still reeling from the effect of coronavirus crisis and the unprecedented demand for Uniqlo masks is just a reflection of Japanese’s continued concern even after the country lifted its national state of emergency weeks earlier.