Last year shoes made the world’s retailers 246 billion bucks. Yes, that’s a lot of money, but it’s also rising, at a pace of 4.5% each year.
By 2023 we’ll be looking at a global value of $320.4 billion. How are you going to prep for that?
Of course, the footwear market is benefitting enormously from the high demand for comfy, athletic styles (something we’ll be discussing with Nike and Topshop at our London Editions event next week). But they’re not the only kind of shoes out there.
Today we wanted to share a snapshot of the industry using our latest footwear analysis tools. Here we outline the things you can act on right now.
The category is growing, but in different directions
Retailers are pumping extra styles into their footwear assortment, given consumers’ move away from statement bags (these days cheaper backpacks and fanny packs speak volumes) and into the fast-pace trend world of footwear.
The major leaders are Urban Outfitters, who increased its footwear offering 41% in Q2 2018 compared to last year, JD Sports up 39%, Nordstrom up 26% and Bloomingdales up 24%.
Dial in a little further (EDITED users, drop in the sneaker filter) and you can see that growth in sporty styles outstrips the broader category gains. Urban Outfitters increased the number of sneaker styles it had in stock in Q2 this year by 72%. UO gets its current shopper, as results prove.
Neiman Marcus grew its sneaker offering 52%, Nordstrom 36% and Bloomingdales 33%. Even non-branded retailers grew their sneaker offering despite no sports specialism, like Zara, where sneakers were up 31%.
Not all retailers are convinced of footwear’s prowess
Selfridges remained in a similar position to last year, ASOS shrunk its sneaker offering by 0.3% (probably not remaining competitive enough for its millennial consumer against UO) and Topshop trimmed its sneaker offering 43%.
Was this a case of couldn’t get the required styles in, or they see something else coming?
(EDITED users, you can check out the latest data on those retailers by logging in here)
Stuff is selling faster than ever
Those lucky retailers who bumped up their sneaker offerings are feeling the rewards, with quickening sell-through rates across price points.
Take a look at the below chart, which shows the luxury sneaker penetration and sell-through time lifting.
Pay attention to price
If you’re of the mind that sell through speed isn’t everything, instead margin is where its at, then the below chart is for you.
Where mass and luxury markets both have faith in trends is interesting. Performance sneakers have lifted equally for both segments. Espadrilles have fallen for both.
Sliders split the market, with luxury bumping up its price point from two years ago and mass falling. This demonstrates why ‘bubble up/trickle down’ methods of trend-tracking no longer work. Both markets are able to capitalise on a trend moment simultaneously, either through accessibility or differentiation of price point.
More on sneakers… they’re kind of a big deal
And this is exactly how big.
The world’s biggest footwear retailers have absolute faith in the category, offering up more than a third of SKU numbers to athletic footwear. Sandals and boots can’t touch how significant the casualization of footwear has become.
And while we’re on that…
High tops are climbing – for summer
This chart alerted us to something quite significant.
Sell outs of high top sneakers are bucking seasonal trends and lifting in warmer months, where historically they drop off. If you can’t hear the trend siren we’d suggest a check-up.
But there’s something more significant going on here.
Footwear seasonality may be dead
Take a look at sell-through on ‘summer’ styles like flip flops, sliders, espadrilles and gladiator sandals (all of which are automatically categorised with EDITED) and we can see that seasonality in footwear is on its way out.
In the UK you can see a flattening out on sell-through in the first few months of the year, compared to the last two years. That’s even more apparent with the US market, where we can see summer styles soaring earlier in the year.
Why is this happening? Affordability of flights mean that consumers are travelling more and holidaying out of season. Fashion trends mean that we’re seeking out more casual styles and consumers aren’t afraid to pair their summer sandals with socks when it’s a bit chilly, because ugly fashion is the ultimate cool.
The most discounted shoe style right now?
The mule. Sorry to say that this style has peaked (and is probably the cause of your backache).
It’s also the most expensive summer shoes style on the mass market. Retailers over-anticipated on this one, with 56% of products currently discounted by an average of 45% off.
Best selling styles of the summer
Thankfully there are some sunnier tales with other styles. Here we have the three bestselling styles of the summer (since March 2018). These winners have been identified by the ratio of bestsellers (sold fast, at full price) to new in for the season. That reveals where consumer demand has outstripped the efforts brands and retailers have put into the trends.
With their high luxe price point, this style is going to be sticking with us. Whether it’s Yeezy utilitarian on mass market sparkle, we couldn’t tell you more clearly: sharpen up your slider assortment.
The espadrille price point grew across mass and luxury, fuelled by a powerful combination of Instagram influencers and Gucci’s summer styles.
3. Performance sneakers
The third bestselling style of the summer season is performance sneakers. This is a real area of interest across every price point, as the upcoming release from Versace can attest. Consumers are getting ever more savvy about what their footwear can do – it can’t just look pretty, it’s got to function too.
Stay tuned for more hiking style sneakers to come through from luxury and influence the street aesthetic.
The sleeper category
There’s one category that remains as faithful as the family Labrador: the slipper. It doesn’t outperform or underperform on retailers’ investment in it: with sell out ratio matching the amount of effort retailers put into the category.
Keep eyes peeled on the data though – the sleepwear and lounge category is on a low simmer. Consumers are nesting, and as soon as greater innovation on the ‘at home’ footwear gets pushed through, this is a segment primed for rapid growth.
We know that brands and retailers need to be armed with the absolute best tools to capitalize on footwear’s expansion. Not only are trends moving faster than ever before, but pricing is hyper-sensitive and non-traditional brands are entering activewear and luxury markets.
We’re making sure there’s some serious innovation around those success areas.
In the meantime, we’ll just leave this here.