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Footwear May Be The Solution For Struggling Apparel Brands

It’s no surprise that today’s retail scene is tough, but apparel companies are turning to another key wardrobe item to stay competitive: shoes.

Footwear retail sales are currently outpacing apparel. According to a Euromonitor report, footwear has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6 percent in the 2010 to 2015 period, compared to 4 percent for apparel.

Another report, by TechNavio Infiniti Research Ltd., said the global footwear market is projected to reach $216 billion by the end of 2019.

Fashion and celebrity endorsements, along with the ongoing athleisure trend and online sales, are responsible for footwear’s growth in the past six years. With this in mind, popular retailers are changing up their brand strategies to include both footwear and apparel merchandise.

Fashion and footwear go hand-in-hand, and certain consumer demographics are more fashion-savvy than others and value shoes’ appearance. As TechNavio found, “The population in the age group between 14 years and 30 years is relatively more fashion conscious and contributes considerably to the replacement purchase of footwear.”

Comfort is the new chic, thanks to the love of athleisure. Now that it is socially acceptable to wear gym clothes while dining, conducting errands and attending events, footwear is also taking cues from this fashion trend. The sports footwear category in particular is expected to increase as fitness apparel remains popular among consumers. Brands like Adidas, Nike and Sketchers, have experienced increased revenue growth since 2014.

E-commerce is also shaking up the way consumers purchase apparel and footwear. Apparel-focused stores like Gap, Kohl’s and Nordstrom, experienced decreased sales last year as brick-and-mortar stores struggled to compete with digital retail.

For struggling clothing brands, footwear may be their advantage in the online sector. With product reviews, price comparisons and social media presence, footwear engages consumers in a way that is convenient and transparent.