What Sneakers Tell Us About Branding and Consumer Behavior


The sneaker and shoe market has developed its own unique culture over the course of the last half-century. While there are more brands and options available today than ever before, exclusivity is still a major factor in the industry.

“No question, scarcity is a driver in this market,” Matt Powell, Senior Industry Advisor at NPD Group, a market research company, said.

Influencers and celebrities have for years created excitement about the sneakers they promote with the biggest shoe brands in the world, but today Powell says this scarcity is being lost.

“It seems like a new collaboration, a limited-edition collaboration, is announced about every 10 seconds. That’s just noise now in the marketplace,” he noted.

Buyers are still looking for authenticity in their products, according to Powell. He explained that celebrities used to partner with shoe brands to create a product that was closely tied to their life experiences, but customers have noticed that authenticity declining.

“Today it’s about ‘who is going to pay me the most?’,” he pointed out.

Shoppers will continue to weigh the importance of this in everything they buy, and shoes are certainly no exception.

Today, Powell says consumers are flocking to athleisure footwear, which represents more than half of all sneaker sales in the United States.

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