Men’s shoes out front in terms of growth

IBISWorld_Aquila_w350A report released last month by leading market researcher IBISWorld has tipped fashionable, differentiated men’s footwear as the most promising growth prospect for the sector.

The IBISWorld Industry Report – Footwear Retailing in Australia said male Australian consumers were growing more discerning in their footwear choices, driven by style content and value for money.

“Men’s footwear is the fastest growing of all segments,” the report said. “There has been a shift in recent years that emphasises the value males put on their footwear. Strong branding, range of style, price and colour are all needed in male footwear market today to be successful.”

A shift from the traditional black or brown dress shoe, and cross-trainer athletic shoe to casual and fashionable street shoes was the key significant trend in the men’s shoe market. “Aquila [pictured] has been able to successfully market itself based on this trend. The shift in demand away from athletic shoes has weakened margins for retailers selling brands such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok. Discounting has also been prevalent at the low end of the price spectrum as a lack of differentiation has increased the commoditisation of products.”

Spending in the lower bracket below $90 remained dominated by women’s footwear. with around two-thirds of ‘cheap’ footwear spending on women’s items. In the upper pricing markets, spending was also largely dominated by women, the report confirmed, accounting for 44.1 per cent.

The report also indicated better times ahead for the industry overall. The global downturn taking hold in late 2008 led to troubled times for the sector in 2009-10, when total revenue reached a low not seen since 2001, totalling $2.44 billion for the year. This year revenue would show some recovery, with an expected increase of 1.6 per cent to $2.48 billion by year end, the report stated, adding that this was projected to be the first step in a consistent run of growth years in total revenue, until 2015-16.

The report also suggested that price competition and significant discounting were not as prevalent in the footwear industry as other retailing industries like clothing, with prices in the sector avoiding the dramatic falls of other sectors in recent times.

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