In just one decade there has been a massive shift in the manner sneakers have been perceived and worn. They are no longer frowned upon when donned in the workplace or even during formal occasions and are worn by the likes Serena Williams, Kylie Jenner, Missy Elliott, Eminem and Justin Timberlake.
“Many people have the perception that the sneaker industry is a niche one. While that used to be true, it is clear to see it is now considered mainstream,” says Richard Xia, founder and CEO of Novelship, an online marketplace for sneakers and streetwear apparel. “We have seen the casualisation of corporate outfits and sneakers have become an ideal choice for footwear in offices.”
“Beyond their practical nature, sneakers have been a status symbol with people willing to shell out thousands of dollars whenever new models are released,” says Jong Wei Wei, brand director of Duke Dinings and ardent sneaker collector.
Indeed, it is not uncommon to see collaborations between high-fashion brands and sneaker brands. Limited edition sneakers have become highly sought-after fashion objects. High-fashion brands like Balenciaga, Dior, Alexander McQueen and Gucci are releasing their own take on sneakers. Even sportswear brands like Nike and Adidas are creating their own luxury lines of sneakers. To put that into perspective, the global sneaker market was valued at US$79 billion in 2020, and it is projected to grow to US$120 billion by 2026.
Furthermore, the market is growing rapidly in the Asia Pacific region which is witnessing a 10 per cent to 15 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). Xia attributes this massive growth trend to the generational shift in the market where young adults, who could not afford luxury items like limited edition sneakers in the past, are now able to due to their higher purchasing power.
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