The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the global footwear market. However, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region accounted for 32.9% of the global footwear market in 2019 and is forecast to contribute nearly 40% of sales in 2024, backed by strong growth markets like India, the Philippines and China, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s research reveals that APAC will grow at a projected CAGR of 5.0% to reach a market value of US$172bn in 2024.
Rukmini Durge, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “APAC will be the fastest growing market through 2024 owing to greater awareness and affinity for a wider variety of footwear styles especially amongst men’s shoes. Consumers will increase purchase frequency to keep up with trends, while growing disposable income in APAC nations will also help drive sales in the long run. Retailers can bank on the APAC region for continued growth and open new stores in smaller cities and towns to attract new customers.
“Retailers found respite from an early recovery in China, especially for luxury and premium footwear segments through a shift in travel expenditure to off-shore duty-free areas like Hainan and even Mainland shops. Louis Vuitton and Gucci saw strong sales rebound in China during the second half of 2020.”
Demand for casual and sports footwear remained robust during the pandemic, due to widespread stay-at-home orders and the rise in popularity of running, jogging, cycling activities and home workout routines during lockdowns. Consumers became more accustomed to wearing casual styles, as their personal preferences transformed to include mostly comfortable and functional footwear, which is expected to see rising demand even as restrictions are eased.
Ms Durge adds: “The trend of casualization and rise of sports footwear is clearly demonstrated by the popularity of Bata, Nike, Li Ning and Anta Sports amongst Asian consumers. Customers purchase journey starts online where they research and compare footwear, but the final purchase tends to happen in-store after try-ons. There has been a fundamental shift in consumer preferences where the lines between channels of purchase have become blurred and retailers must navigate this requirement to be ‘everywhere’. Digital channels have become an integral part of purchase decisions but stores also hold an equal but different importance.”
Exclusivity is another driving factor for the global footwear market. Brands like Toesmith bank on the hype for unique products especially amongst millennials who are looking for items that can set them apart from the crowd.
Ms Durge concludes: “Customers, especially in the rapidly growing APAC region who are increasingly aware of international trends, can be attracted by exclusivity and personalization features to drive sales. Brands that offer some degree of customization or one-of-a-kind features can create sales by tapping into the ‘drop’ culture that builds excitement around buying footwear and creates sales opportunities especially aided by the online channel.
“Focus on growing markets, re-evaluating styles, and allowing for purchase experiences to integrate offline and the online channel will be key areas to pursue going forward.”