Unravelling the hype behind TikTok’s cult-classic Uniqlo bag

We often assume that trending items, foods, or places will sizzle down in popularity over a year (or even quicker). Contrary to this notion, a recent raving review of a particular item caught my attention, and the enthusiastic comments it garnered revealed its persistent charm and demand.  

Imagine this: A bag with the quaint charm of a dumpling, available in an array of vibrant colours and boasting an almost magical capacity. Yes, I’m talking about Uniqlo’s viral Round Mini Shoulder Bag!  

Round Mini Shoulder Bag

Round Mini Shoulder Bag

Riding high on the hype train since 2022, the excitement surrounding this bag soared on Tiktok. Today, there’s a total of 22.9 million views under the search ‘Uniqlo bag’.  

On the platform, users showcased its deceptively spacious interior by fitting in an astonishing array of items at once – snacks, earphones, large wallets, full-sized perfume bottles, books, and even clothing. These demonstrations transformed the humble shoulder bag akin to the bottomless carpetbag from Mary Poppins for the digital age.  

The Uniqlo Bag frenzy

Fans of this bag can vouch for the treasure hunt they had to endure to secure this elusive bag in 2023. Every announcement of new releases, fresh colours or materials sends customers to their nearest Uniqlo store. As a TikTok user, I’ve seen how reviews often end with strong endorsements, urging viewers to not just walk but run to grab one themselves. This excitement is evident; every time I pass by Uniqlo’s shoulder bag section during my window-shopping escapades, there’s always a crowd gathered at the shoulder bag section.

A person standing next to a mannequin in a storeDescription automatically generated

This unexpected phenomenon has prompted other brands to follow suit, launching similar products to capture some of Uniqlo’s magic. Following the viral ‘Round Mini Shoulder Bag’, new product lines from Uniqlo, like the Faux Leather Puffy Bag, have also received a warm reception.

Understanding the appeal of this trendy bag

Is it merely the allure of owning something both simple and practical? Let’s delve deeper into why these bags have become such coveted items:

  1. Price Point & Quality: Uniqlo is known for striking a balance between affordability and quality craftsmanship, which is well-reflected through its popular shoulder bags. Thanks to its stellar success, they have expanded their bag offerings in multiple eye-catching colours that appeal particularly well to younger consumers.  
  2. Hype & trend influence: The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) phenomenon significantly fuels demand. Social media influencers and regular users who praise such products can catapult them into viral status overnight. This creates urgency among consumers to relate and belong ‘in-the-know’, bringing a feeling of attainable exclusivity. It can be argued that owning something viral has become synonymous with partaking in widespread cultural moments.

How do we replicate this booming success?

  1. Engage authentically with your audience: Understand your audience deeply and authentically to ensure that your products strike a resonant chord with your audience. By launching a product that was true to its minimalist aesthetic, Uniqlo tapped into its customer's preferences for simplicity and vibrant colours.  
  2. Innovate within your brand framework: Sometimes, it can be easy to mistake innovation for reinvention. However, this is not always the case. Instead, take this opportunity to identify where you can enhance by introducing variations that keep your offerings fresh yet familiar. The overwhelming demand for their bag led to Uniqlo choosing to build upon it by introducing variations in colour, pattern, and material.
  3. Harness influencer power wisely: Identify a surge in popularity around your product and actively engage with it through your social media channels. It’s undeniable that Uniqlo’s bag gained popularity thanks to influencers sharing content featuring the sought-after item. Uniqlo understood this and leveraged that popularity boost by posting social media content acknowledging the item’s popularity, demonstrating their awareness and responsiveness to consumer trends.
  4. Create shareable moments around your products: Encourage user-generated content by creating experiences worth sharing online — from unboxing videos to creative challenges involving your products, like the ‘What’s in my Uniqlo bag’ videos to fuel organic engagement and visibility. Their endorsements serve as powerful testimonials that can validate consumers’ purchase decisions. It also enhances the perceived value of owning such items, transforming them from accessories to symbols of status or belonging.

In summary, other companies aiming to replicate Uniqlo’s success should focus on:  

  1. Maintaining brand integrity  
  2. Expanding their offerings in ways that resonate with target audiences’ evolving tastes  
  3. Leveraging social media and its influencers effectively to magnify the impact of creating buzz around new products.

In unison, these efforts will foster an environment where owning these items becomes synonymous with exclusivity and trendsetting — a strategy that ultimately translates into sustained demand and loyalty.