The footwear industry has evolved radically over the years, new fashions and trends have seen the market explode. With new brands and changes in fashion, there are shoes varying in color and style for every occasion.
In 2018 ResearchAndMarkets reported that the global footwear market was worth a staggering $227.1 billion, predicting further growths of $40.4 billion during the next five years (2019 – 2023).
Another change in buyer behavior shows that ever-increasing numbers of footwear shoppers are choosing to buy online, as the digital evolution continues to grow.
So, what´s driving these changes in buyer behavior?
Millennials are the main driving force behind this digital revolution, with fashion and footwear increasingly being sold through online stores, social platforms, and marketplaces.
Shoppers today are time poor, this coupled with the incredible developments in technology over the past decade means consumers are now increasingly digesting digital content and shopping online whilst on the move. The introduction of smartphones, their advancements in technology and more recently the ease in which we can pay, have all been hugely influential factors in this change in consumer behavior.
According to a 2019 Statista research study, there are 3.3 billion smartphone users in the world today, which equates to an incredible 42.9% of the world’s population. Companies offering mobile first or responsive sites with one click payment options have made online purchases quick, simple and secure. Traditional brands who have not adapted well to the digital world have been left behind.
The parallel growth of counterfeit goods online
The footwear market is fragmented with several key players occupying the market share. Online marketplaces such as Amazon and ASOS, alongside multi-brands stores and official brand websites continue to benefit in this digital world. However, there is a dark side to this online industry which continues to see monumental growth in parallel. The damage caused by cybercriminals is negatively affecting the reputation of footwear companies, their profits, and consumer confidence through the imitation of their brands and the sale of inferior quality counterfeit footwear.
We, at Smart Brand Protection conducted our own market research into the footwear market and the results painted an interesting picture…
Where and when do shoppers buy their footwear online?
Our Smart Brand Protection 2019 Consumer Footwear Study found that just 31.79% of respondents shop at official brand stores, with most of those questioned opting to purchase their shoes elsewhere online.
Despite the fact most respondents admitted to buying footwear online, 58.67% claimed that the most important factor when choosing a new pair of shoes was the quality. But how can shoppers be sure that what their viewing online will match the item they receive once they have completed their purchase? Our exclusive study found some interesting results.
It would be fair to say that the product quality offered by cybercriminals in the form of counterfeit footwear is hugely compromised, and a concern for digital shoppers. It´s important that consumers can distinguish between original and counterfeit goods, but are shoppers able to do so as cybercriminals become more intelligent with their advertising and targeted campaigns?
Consumer trust in the footwear market, and the importance of cyber protection
Our research study found that 55.17% of respondents are unable to spot the difference between fake and original footwear online, and as a direct result consumer trust is being impacted! Many respondents claimed that they would stop buying specific brands if they knew it was being counterfeited. The importance of tackling cybercrime from a brand perspective is clear to see.
Interesting feedback was also received when we asked our audience to respond in relation to the authenticity of the products being promoted through social media adverts.
We also questioned consumers about who they felt was responsible, or to blame for counterfeit footwear being made available and sold online. The results showed that consumers expected more to be done by the official brand to limit or prevent the availability of counterfeit copies.
What can digital retailers in the footwear industry do to protect their sales, their brand and product reputation online?
Official brand websites, sites selling multiple footwear brands, social networks and marketplaces all have a vested interest in protecting their brand and products online, but there is also a responsibility to keep customers safe. E-commerce is growing at incredible speeds and as it grows the appeal and potential gains become greater for cybercriminals.