According to Zion Market Research, the global footwear market is forecasted to reach 320 billion US dollars by 2023. Footwear sales for men grew 27 percent between 2011 and 2016 while women's footwear, a more mature market, grew 21 percent. If growth continues this way, men will be spending more on their shoes than women. And no prizes for guessing where this growth has come from. Sneakers.
As we all know, for many years, interest in athleisure styles has been shaking up the way we dress. Moving from a trend to a lifestyle choice, this movement is no longer reserved for sports brands. The luxury sector has also been bolstering it's assortments, fuelling our never-ending obsession with sneakers.
Growth over time
Men’s designer trainers are currently at an all-time high. We see them on the feet of entertainers and sneakerheads alike, on socials, on the runway. Gone are the days where sneakers were banned from offices and nightclubs. Now, sneakers are the status icon for millennials, giving luxury brands an opportunity to attract this demographic. And it’s working. In NPD’s recent report, expensive shoes have surpassed luxury handbags as the latest status symbol.
EDITED data confirms this market has experienced some impressive growth. The number of new men's luxury sneaker arrivals have increased quarter on quarter in the UK & US combined since 2016. While Q4 2018 reveals a dip from previous years, numbers shot up again in Q1 2019 by 26 percent - that’s 159 percent growth since Q1 2016.
What brands do consumers want?
The most searched luxury sneaker brands in the US for men are Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Common Projects and Gucci. Looking at the data, these brands are capitalizing on this popularity and growing sneaker assortments. In the US, Alexander McQueen has expanded its men's sneaker range 88 percent YoY. Balenciaga sneakers have increased by 97 percent. Major luxury e-tailers are buying deeper into Common Projects. Farfetch has grown it’s offering 21 percent while Ssense has increased backing on the brand by 56 percent YoY.
Luxury’s bright future
While the luxury market has recently experienced an economic slowdown in major markets, the future is looking optimistic. Deloitte's Top 100 annual list of the world’s largest luxury goods companies stated that 76 percent of these companies reported sales growth, with half of them achieving double-digit growth. The global demand for luxury goods is expected to grow as more consumers reach middle-class status. This correlates with the increase in pricing for luxury items. We charted the increase of average full price of sneakers by the most-searched luxury brands YoY.
This hasn't deterred customers from shopping. Looking at the newest arrivals in the US market for Q1, 24 percent of new luxury sneakers are now out of stock. Of this 24 percent, 21 percent of the sold out styles were discounted - meaning nearly 80 percent of products sold at full price. These metrics are all indicators that this is a healthy category.
The disruption of pure play brands
How do luxury sneakers compare with the Nikes of the world? Pure play active brands still dominate this category, with men's sneakers increasing 4 percent YoY.
These brands also hold the top spot in luxury-centric e-tailers. The top 3 men’s sneaker brands that Farfetch are stocking are Nike, Adidas and Vans. It’s evident that there's a growing presence of performance sneaker brands in traditional luxury e-commerce assortments. There is a similar pattern at Luisaviaroma, Mr. Porter and Ssense.
What are the best-selling styles?
In line with prominent runway trends, both chunky and hi-top silhouettes emerged as successful styles in the UK & US market.
The ever-present “dad sneaker” was popular in black and white at Alexander McQueen and Dsquared, while Stella McCartney injected pops of neon and bold primary colors.
On the flip side, the classic hi-top was a minimalist alternative. The sock silhouette is still performing for Balenciaga with the Speed trainer being replenished 13 times in the UK, a strong indication of a must-have style.
This article was written for FashionUnited by Kayla Marci of Edited. Edited is the leader and industry-standard for real-time retail analytics, where the software leverages artificial intelligence to track and reveal insights on competitor product ranges, pricing, discounting and trends across the global retail landscape. The software is used by buyers, planners and trading teams to generate a huge competitive advantage.
All images courtesy of EDITED