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How a Michael Jordan Docuseries Helped StockX Set Records in May

Although footwear as a whole hasn’t exactly performed well since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, one online player bucked the trend of industrywide declines in demand.

In its second-ever snapshot report, StockX revealed that May and June were its biggest buyer months ever, and the average resale price for the top 500 sneakers increased 6 percent between February and June. The secondhand sneakers and streetwear marketplace, which labels itself “the stock market of things,” has surpassed $2.5 billion in lifetime gross merchandise value (GMV), or total value of merchandise sold.

StockX said it had 18 of its top 20 sales days of all time (excluding promos and holidays) in the second quarter. This isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon either, with sales in Europe growing more than 200 percent year over year.

Overall, since its launch in February 2016, StockX has closed more than 10 million lifetime trades, with 50 percent coming in the past year.

Valued at approximately $1 billion, StockX hasn’t had entirely smooth sailing throughout the pandemic. In April, the company was forced to lay off 108 employees, or 12 percent of its workforce. The layoffs, which occurred in departments such as quality assurance, engineering, product, and operations, took place in both the company’s Detroit headquarters and its Arizona office. They came as StockX looked to shift from a growth company into a more profitable operation, particularly as the pandemic forced it to cut costs.

The marketplace caters largely to a younger audience of sneaker enthusiasts. According to a semi-annual survey of 5,200 U.S. teens from investment banking firm Piper Sandler, Gen Z “sneakerheads” spend an average of $503 per year on sneakers. As many as 69 percent of Gen Z sneakerheads have purchased off StockX, the survey said, while upper-income Gen Z males consider it their fourth-most popular website.

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Although male Gen Z shoppers are spearheading the StockX buying market, data indicates that the secondhand sneaker market is diversifying—over the past 12 months, sales of women’s sneakers have outpaced the market by 70 percent. While StockX says the majority of customers on the platform are 24 or younger, users who are 45 years old and older has risen 30 percent over the past six months.

Nike’s Jordan Brand has certainly been a boost for StockX, and all footwear companies selling Jordan sneakers. In May, sales on all Jordan products rose more than 40 percent, coinciding with the launch of ESPN’s 10-part “The Last Dance” documentary series, which covered Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls. In June, StockX sold 40,000 pairs of the Jordan 13 “Flint,” which became the fastest-selling sneaker in StockX history.

StockX said it has authenticated 3.5 million pairs of Air Jordans total, with 1 million in the past six months alone.

Jordan isn’t the only influencer who has had a recent impact on buying patterns. Prices for Ferris Bueller Nike SB Dunk sneakers rose 50 percent in May after Kylie Jenner wore them in a photo she posted on Instagram.

Although much attention has gone to iconic brands, smaller brands like New Balance and Anti Social Social Club have each outpaced the overall market in growth on StockX by more than 100 percent, according to the snapshot.

And per a recent Cowen Equity Research report, the average consumer brand saw a 9 percent decline in search interest after the March lockdowns, while StockX says its search actually accelerated with double-digit gains.

StockX took the top spot in the “new luxury” category in a report from e-commerce marketing platform Klaviyo and retail media research startup Future Commerce, highlighting 81 brands that are shaping the future of online retailing.

Although it is largely known for its sneakers, the marketplace offers other lesser-known products, and has seen significant growth in some of these unexpected product categories. Overall GMV of products including puzzles (582 percent), slides (364 percent), face masks (282 percent) and sweat shorts (179 percent) saw notable growth—all of which are tied to changing buying patterns under the “new normal.”