Footwear trend alert

How brands are tackling the sector this season?

Key takeaways

  • A price increase is visible within leading mass market brands' footwear assortment
  • Cowboy boots and rubber boots are some of the season’s hottest boots
  • Mass market brands are expanding their sneaker assortment this season
Retviews Footwear Trend Blog 22/10/21

From comfortable sneakers and trendy boots to sexy heels, the fall season comes with a vast array of new footwear within leading mass market brands’ assortments. The global footwear industry, currently at over $390 billion in revenue, has not yet reached its pre-pandemic revenue, after having experienced a loss of over 17% in revenue during 2020. The footwear market is expected to bounce back in the next few years, with a forecast growth of over 11% annually between 2021 and 2025.

With a prominent anticipated increase in revenue in coming years, tackling the industry with the right assortment is key, in order to be part of the future footwear growth. So how are mass market brands taking on footwear this season? Is comfort still reigning supreme, or have comfortable shoes taken a step back in favor of going-out shoes and high heels?

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The stand out shoes of the season

Fall is in full swing, and within footwear, boots are the evident choice, and a wardrobe staple. Retviews’ data indicates that boots, namely ankle boots, are taking the lead in mass market footwear, with a significant 28% percent of leading brands’ such as ZARA, H&M, Mango and Uniqlo’s new arrivals this season. Ankle boots also formed a significant share of the footwear assortment within leading mass market brands during fall of 2020. However, the category made up a slightly larger, 33% of the footwear new arrivals assortment last year. During this year’s fall season, ankle boots are maintaining their leading position but the assortment of footwear is proving to be more diverse.

Retviews Data Footwear Assortment Mix Graph Mass Market Brands

Retviews data indicates that sneakers are another major category this fall, representing 16% of leading mass market brands’ new arrivals. Followed closely by knee high boots whose assortment presence also increased, in comparison with the 2020 fall season.

The other leading categories which are making strides on the market are ballerinas and loafers. Loafers are the preppy it-shoe that has been making headlines for several seasons, with luxury brands’ Gucci and Prada loafers leading the trend and most recently, JW Anderson’s Loafer Mules, one of the hottest products of the season. Leading mass market brands are increasingly including the popular shoe in their assortment this season, with a 6% presence in the share of new arrivals, as opposed to  5% throughout the same time period in 2020.

Ballerinas on the other hand, are the classic girly shoe that has recently re-entered leading brands’ assortment, showcasing a 7% share of mass market brands’ new arrivals, up 4% from last year’s level. The shoe made an appearance in recent runway shows, one of which being in the Chanel Fall Winter 2021 collection, as the brand continuously reinvents the classic shoe.

Despite pandemic restrictions being lifted internationally, and individuals going out more, high heels have not made the top categories list this season, potentially indicating a permanent shift towards comfort, but with the presence of loafers and ballerinas, indicating a more elevated comfort. 


The boots to watch out for

Boots remain the most popular category throughout the fall, making up a total of 40.4% of leading mass market brands’ new footwear arrivals this season, including both ankle boots and high boots. However, boots are making room for other categories this season, as last year’s overall new arrivals in the boot category made up a total of 45.5%, during the same period. The popularity of the category begs the question of, what are some of the hottest boots this fall?

Retviews Data Footwear Boots Style Assortment Mix Graph Mass Market Brands

This fall, leading mass market brands such as Zara, H&M, Mango and Uniqlo’s new boot arrivals include some of the hottest trends of the season; cowboy boots, which were seen in the Celine Fall Winter 2021 collection by Hedi Slimane, as well as the rubber boots that are making their way into luxury brands’ like Bottega Veneta’s footwear assortment whose Puddle Boots first appeared in the brand’s Fall Winter 2020 collection and are still prominent this year. Cowboy boots and rubber boots both represent 11% of leading mass market brands’ new arrivals in boots, with rubber boots in particular showcasing a significant 10% increase in assortment share this fall.


The power of comfort

Sneakers make up a significant 16% of mass market leaders’ new footwear arrivals this season. The sneaker market in itself makes up a major part of the footwear industry, with a market revenue value of $68.5 billion in 2021, expected to grow by 13.33% annually by 2025, for “athleisure” everyday sneakers, showcasing a valuable presence in the footwear industry.

Retviews Data Footwear Sneaker Assortment mix 2020 vs. 2021 Womenswear Graph

Retviews data showcases a 6% increase in the share of sneakers in mass market leaders’ footwear assortment. This coincides with the prominence of the sneaker market today. Coupled with the increase in sneaker drops and becoming so sought after, that sneakers have become collectors’ items, and are auctioned off and sold at high-end prices. The increasing popularity of the shoe and its strength in the footwear industry explains why mass market brands are joining the sneaker growth this year and hiking up their assortment.


The state of footwear prices in mass market brands

There is a notable increase in prices within the footwear industry, with reports indicating that a worrying inflation is taking hold within the industry. The increase in prices is said to stem from increased transportation costs, a hike in raw material prices, at an average increase of 25%, as well as supply chain issues originating from Asian manufacturers’ production delays which are leading to stock shortages in leading brands’ assortments.

Retviews Data Footwear Average Most Frequent Prices Graph Mass Market Brands 2020 vs. 2021

The industry price increase is evident within mass market leaders’ new arrivals, with a clear rise in the average most frequent price, within some of this season’s hottest categories.  Retviews data indicates that leading brands such as H&M, Zara, Mango, C&A and OVS’ prices are significantly higher in some of the most popular categories this year, when compared to the same time period in 2020. Will the present inflation remain temporary, or will there be a permanent surge in mass market footwear prices?


Is footwear keeping up with sustainability?

One of the key aspects in the fashion industry and at the forefront of consumers’ decision-making, especially with Gen Z emerging as the “sustainable generation”, taking sustainability into account is crucial. With sustainable collections emerging in apparel and numerous brands increasing sustainability efforts, how does footwear fare in the topic of sustainability?

Retviews Data Footwear Sustainable vs. Regular collections graph 2020 vs. 2021

Retviews data indicates that mass market leaders are slowly but surely increasing their sustainable offer within the footwear sector this fall, with a 4% increase in items qualified as sustainable within their footwear assortment, in comparison with the same time period in 2020. With new brands such as AllBirds developing sustainable footwear and mass brands slowly introducing sustainability into their assortment, taking into account sustainability and investing in sustainable materials is key in targeting the footwear industry and staying ahead of the competition. Find out more about the state of sustainability in the fashion industry in our Sustainability Report, available here. 


Tackling footwear this season

Considering the forecast growth of the footwear industry in coming years, targeting the right assortment of footwear, at the right price and with the hottest seasonal products is crucial. Tackling sustainability is vital in staying ahead of the competition within footwear; with brands making efforts in introducing more environmentally conscious products. See how Retviews, the competitive intelligence platform for fashion can help you optimize your collections, get the right pricing and discount strategies, among other data that will help you hit the market perfectly. Get real-time data and make better decisions with Retviews by Lectra today.  

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