Sneakerheads - Demographics: United States
To have a broad understanding surrounding the demographics of the sneakerhead market, specifically in the United States. An ideal response would include their age range, race, and annual income. While those three demographics are the most important, other general demographics will be valuable as well. As a next best thing, and only if sneakerhead demographics are not publicly available, demographics for those who purchase male athletic shoes would be acceptable. Of note is what is NOT wanted, which is information on the overall shoe market, and this should not be provided.
- We were not provided a definition of "sneakerheads, so for the purposes of this research, we are defining "sneakerheads" as this: "A sneakerhead is someone who collects, trades and or admires sneakers as a hobby. Generally, sneakerheads are well-versed in the history of sneakers and study the market carefully. If you present them with a pair of sneakers, they can tell you their value, make and history. Sneakerheads first emerged in North America, but they're now a global phenomenon." If this definition is inaccurate, that would clearly have to be communicated to us in any reply.
- "The target audience for athleisure products is mostly Millennials and Generation Z consumers who see sneakers as status symbols. However, wealthy Gen X’s who grew up with Jordan are also big sneakerheads." Please note that according to Pew Research, Generation Z are those born after 1996. Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, making them between the ages of 24-39 as of 2020. Generation X were born between 1965 and 1980, placing them between the ages of 40-55 as of 2020. Baby Boomers were born between the years 1946 and 1964, making them between the ages of 56-74 as of 2020.
- According to Helixa data from 2019, "only a sixth of sneakerheads are also engaging with high-end clothing brands, even though most of them are spending big on their sneakers." Further, Helixa asserts that "only a third of sneakerheads in [their] platform make more than $70,000 – many do wear expensive sneakers with cheaper clothes, even covering them with baggy denim."
- According to Helixa, they state that they can isolate the "segment of sneakerheads interested in high-end brands, step into their limited-edition shoes, and better understand how to reach them." They reveal that "the high-end sneakerhead segment is a bit older than the total sneakerhead group, these consumers are still most likely to be 18 to 24 years old. They also have a slightly lower household income than the overall sneakerhead audience. Those two demographic data points – taken together with a high interest in brands like Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Versace – paint them as aspirational buyers."
- Women make up 40% of the high-end sneakerhead segment but only 17% of the rest of the sneakerhead group. Meanwhile, when [Helixa] broke out the 10% of sneakerheads who engage with popular streetwear brands, [they] saw the opposite extreme, with 93% male representation.
- According to this 2020 source from HBCU Buz, "[t]hrough the “One World One Sole” initiative, the sneaker community will finally have a localized data collection platform. The goal of the platform is to go straight to the urban sneaker community to ultimately collect vital information and lead campaigns that will ultimately benefit those same communities and their cities. The Sneaker Census is very detailed and covers all the topics that a true sneakerhead would love to talk about. It asks about their favorite sneaker brands, and how they wear and even clean their shoes. It also touches on demographics, since in the US sneaker culture varies heavily by the area."
- According to arch-usa.com, brands today are marketing to the wrong demographic when appealing to serious collectors. "The bigger collectors aren’t scraping their allowance together to buy the newest pair of Nike Air Jordans. Instead, they are middle-aged, well-established adults looking to add to their pristine collections."
- According to statista.com, in 2019, footwear sales for Nike totaled $24.2 billion globally, making them number one in the market. Adidas took the number two spot with $15.1 billion. Reebok is also included in Adidas sales. Asics took the third spot with $2.9 billion in global sales for 2018. Puma and Under Armour rounded out the top five selling brands for 2019 with $2.9 billion and $1.1 billion respectively. "It’s hard to estimate how many of these shoes were sold to Sneakerhead collectors or resold secondhand but experts estimate they only make up around 5% of sales."
- "The average ownership of four to five pairs of sneakers among the total population increased +299bps (basis points) in the past five years to 16.3% in December 2018 from 13.3% in December 2013. Among Millennials and Gen Z, the spread increased +260bps for men aged 18-to-34 and rose +633bps among women aged 18-to-34. While a smaller sample size and thus more volatile, among upper incomes, the spread over the past five years increased +1500bps for men with an income of $100,000-plus and +915bps for women with an income of $100,000-plus."
- "The market is led by innovative marketplaces, young consumers and a cultural mindset that views sneakers as a critical form of self-expression."
- "As a whole, sneakerheads love the outdoors and sports – whether they’re watching or participating – and this holds true for the high-end segment."
- According to Patrick Walsh, Foot Locker’s vice president of marketing, North America, "Sneakerheads are . . . very well-informed consumers and have a variety of interests, including art, music, photography, sports, etc."
- According to a recent study from Cowen, "[s]neakerheads’ addiction to shoes is well-documented, and they own an average of 20 pairs of sneakers, but this appears conservative when press reports have cited collections in the thousands."
- Wonder aims to use sources that are not any older than 24 months. While we did not expand or provide data points from this 2014 source, we thought it might be useful to include in case review was desired.
Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals
- As discussed at the top of this document in the early findings section, we were not provided a definition of "sneakerheads. If the definition we settled on is inaccurate, that would clearly have to be communicated to us in any reply.
- In the one hour allotted for the initial research, we were able to determine that the majority of the information requested is available in the public domain, though not all demographic data was available. For example, we did not come upon any race related data in the initial hour of research.
- We were able to present some salient, recent, and relevant demographic data points that stand on their own and also set the table for future research. We were able to deliver some gender, age, and income data points. We were also able to provide a few psychographic data points. Though that was not specifically asked for, we felt that it added value to the overall initial hour of research.
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