While the European footwear market has shown greater economic resilience compared to clothing, there have nonetheless been winners and losers. This briefing explores the evolution of the market in a time of continued economic uncertainty, highlighting key geographic, category and channel opportunities. Emphasis is placed on the most striking market development: the growth of the value segment, driven by post-recession polarisation and the notion of “disposable fashion” hitting footwear.
Footwear has been less prone to macroeconomic shocks compared to clothing due to its position as an "affordable luxury" and perception as a better investment.
Recession and austerity measures are dampening footwear spending in Western Europe, but sales in Eastern Europe continue to grow.
Whilst the notion of "disposable fashion" is hitting its peak in clothing, the trend is gaining importance in footwear.
The middle ground is being squeezed in Europe, as consumers trade down to fast fashion/private label but also trade up to luxury.
Fast fashion chains, in particular, are turning their attention to footwear, providing more weight at the economy end of the market.
Grocery retailers' private label brands are also benefiting at the economy end, but face the challenge of building fashion appeal to compete with fast fashion.
Department stores and apparel specialists are focusing on creating in-store environments and services to regain footfall.
Sports footwear, particularly sports-inspired, is showing economic resilience, drawing non-traditional sportswear players into the competitive fray.
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