The specialty sneaker market isn’t quite as intense as it once was, but sneakers remain a force in the fashion market. The trend is heating up again, though, as sneakerheads and Star Wars fans start to rejoice while rocking their very own pair of R2-D2 sneakers.
On Wednesday, Adidas unveiled its latest arrival: Customizable Star Wars-themed sneakers. Starting at a $100 ($60 for kids) price point, you can create your collector’s item by choosing an arrangement from various colors, prints, and logos online or through the athletic footwear company’s mobile app.
The “mi star wars” line launches just months ahead of the movie release date for the latest franchise installment, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” It’s a clever marketing ploy in several ways. The franchise’s fanbase alone is enough proof that the shoes will be a hit.
Mike Powell, a sports market analyst at The NPD Group, predicts the collection will do well. “This [design-it-yourself] trend has become a very important part of the business,” he explained, cleverly calling it the consumer trend that shouts: “I want to to be different — like everyone else.”
Essentially, footwear companies have found that catering to a broader demographic by letting them dictate their own aesthetic is a successful strategy.
The athletic shoe market has become rapidly crowded, but that’s not a bad thing. Sales grew by 8 percent in the first half of 2015, while selling prices increased 7 percent on average, according to The NPD Group. The wholesale footwear industry itself grew by 3.4 percent between 2010 and 2015, raking in revenues of $37 billion in 2014.
Major brands have refused to disclose what portion of their revenues came from limited edition sales, but Powell estimates it could be a decent amount — anywhere between 5 and 10 percent.
Still, the strategy has its drawbacks, particularly for smaller brands. If you’re one looking to to get into the customizable, limited-edition business, here are three essential things to keep in mind before harnessing “the force”:
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