Sneaker culture has grown tremendously in the last decade. With the influence of the internet, social media, and what seems like new releases every weekend, this once-niche hobby has now spilled over to the mainstream. Despite such huge growth, the overall footwear landscape is much larger than people think. It goes beyond retro Jordans and limited releases. So, how much of an impact does the sneakerhead demographic really have on the footwear industry? Forbes contributor and SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell dives into this subject in his column, "Sneakernomics: Are Sneakerheads important?."
According to Powell, just last year alone, $22 billion made up total sales of sport footwear. By analzying the shoe sales that sneakerheads are most interested in, he was able to determine the financial impact that 'heads have on the market. "All in, Jordan, Retro, Marquee basketball and collaborations combined were worth $1.75 billion at retail last year in the US," Powell said. "Of course, we cannot assume that every one of these shoes went to a sneakerhead. So let’s say sneakerhead sales were $1.1 billion last year."
At $1.1 billion, this means that sneakerheads only contributed 5% to the total sport footwear business. "Sneakerheads do not represent a major portion of sneaker sales," Powell stated.
Powell also goes beyond the financial implications and believes that sneakerheads have little impact to the industry as a whole. "In the sneakerhead press, there is very little original content and frequent cut-and-pasting of content from other sources," Powell said. "Because the sneakerhead media is unwilling or unable to speak the truth to power, their influence is very limited, except inside the echo chamber that is sneaker culture."