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With 18% Sales Growth, Will Footwear Brands Run To Amazon? Featured

  • Written by  Glenn Taylor
With 18% Sales Growth, Will Footwear Brands Run To Amazon?

Amazon has been firing on all cylinders in 2017, but its expansion into footwear may showcase some of its most impressive work. In the first two quarters of 2017, Amazon already has seen its shoe revenues grow 18% from a year ago, according to data gathered by One Click Retail.

In 2016, Amazon's total shoe sales climbed by 35%, excluding accessories. This growth far outpaced the total revenues of U.S. shoe-specific brands in 2016, which increased 5%. This growth rate was achieved well before the e-Commerce giant partnered with Nike and launched its new private fashion brand The Fix, contributing to the belief that there is plenty more growth to come in the second half of 2017.

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Combined with its rollout of the Prime Wardrobe service, which allows Prime members to try on shoes, clothing and accessories for free, Amazon is positioning itself as a serious contender in the footwear industry.

Amazon’s best-selling category for the first two quarters of 2017 was athletic shoes, which so far have generated $205 million in sales on 45% growth. “Comfort” and “Juniors” categories came in second ($135 million) and third ($120 million) in sales, showing massive growth at 210% and 235% respectively. With stores such as Payless ShoeSource filing for bankruptcy and closing up to 800 stores, Amazon appears to be a more appealing destination for footwear brands — even if they risk potential damage to their own brand.

Adidas Gets Major Boost From Amazon Sales

It’s no wonder Nike made the jump to Amazon given footwear’s slow growth overall. Look no further than one of Nike’s chief competitors — Adidas — to find a success story. The footwear manufacturer and seller had four of the top five fastest-growing shoes on Amazon in Q1 and Q2 2017:

  • 890%: Adidas Originals Women’s Superstar Casual Sneaker Size 7;

  • 800%: Adidas Originals Women’s Superstar Casual Sneaker Size 6;

  • 520%: Adidas Originals Women’s Superstar Casual Sneaker Size 7.5; and

  • 480%: Adidas Originals Women’s Superstar Casual Sneaker Size 8.5.

Sof Sole is the only brand blocking Adidas from a clean sweep of the top six items. Two variations of its insoles complete the eight top-growth items in the first six months of 2017, growing by 300% and 630%.

Amazon Set To Capture 2% To 3% Share In Women’s Footwear In Year 1

Manik Aryapadi, a principal in the retail and consumer practice of A.T. Kearney, noted that Amazon’s further moves into footwear and handbags would really make a major impact in women’s footwear, a market that was $45 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow to $55 billion by 2020.

“High end shoe brands will continue to remain unimpacted, but it could be a significant threat to low and mid-tier brands,” Aryapadi noted in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “This is the potential impact Amazon could have: Amazon currently has between 8% to 10% market share in apparel, which is significant. It took Amazon around five years to get there. Given their ecosystem, their private label women’s footwear brands will at least capture 2% to 3% market share in Year 1 — that would make their private label a $1 billion dollar brand in Year 1…which is quite remarkable.”

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