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Sneakernomics

Geoff Riley

30th December 2018

This BBC News article offers copious business and economics gold dust! The global athletic footwear market size was valued at $64.30 billion in 2017 and the industry supplying shoes has traditionally been viewed as an oligopoly dominated by multinationals such as Nike and Adidas.

In 2017, an estimated 9.3 million people bought Adidas sports shoes and trainers in the UK. Ranked second and third were Nike and Converse. Nike is ranked 1st in the global sneaker market drawing on data from 2016 and 2017 shown in the chart below.

But as technologies change and consumer preferences evolve, it seems that the sector is becoming more contestable with profits to be made for disruptive businesses such as AllBirds (the San Francisco-based sneakers start-up) who are able to sell direct to consumers and control the unit cost of supply.

More reading on Allbirds:

How Allbirds went from Silicon Valley fashion staple to a $1.4 billion sneaker start-up (CNBC, December 2018)

Sneaker Startup Allbirds Takes Flight With $50 Million In Funding (Forbes, October 2018)

Allbirds, the buzzy sneaker startup that's now reportedly worth $1 billion, just released its most expensive shoe yet (Business Insider, November 2018)

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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