Fresh results from Label Networks%uFFFD Spring Youth Culture Study 2009–Footwear Section

In this story, we take a look at some of the results being released in our Spring Youth Culture Study 2009 from one of our most popular section, Footwear Trends. While it may seem obvious, especially to those in the sneaker industry, it’s important however to point out that in the youth culture markets of 13-25-year-olds, the top “footwear” choices are generally sneaker brands, and many are skateboarding-inspired brands. However as we’ve noted in the Fall Study 2008, there’s a change in top footwear and sneaker brands with the rise in music-inspired brands, the revival of old-school brands as new favorites, and the increase in authentic workwear brands as credible. This is why sneaker culture and its various complex subcultures and influences from sports, fashion, and music are so important to understand when it comes to youth culture.

In addition, sneaker culture is also influencing fashion to such as extent that LTD’s or limited-edition styles (plugged often on top blogs), can be the fashion statement or completion to someone’s sense of style or outfit. This can be seen in the Fashion section of our Spring Youth Culture Study 2009 as some top sneaker brands are named as favorite “brands” overall. This emphasizes the importance of sneaker culture and subcultures in general, and why it’s important to stay on top of such trends, the prevalence of sneaker-freaker sites in blogging cultures, plus collectibles, collaborations with other brands, and trends towards upscale sneaker brands, that are all influencing youth culture fashion, footwear, and spending patterns.

As a sneak-peak to our Footwear section in the Spring Study 2009, the top brand is Converse. This remains the overall top brand of 13-25-year-olds in North America at 23.3%, however this is a slight decrease from 24.7% in the Fall Study 2008. What’s notable when looking at the top percentages in general in comparison with previous years is that they have decreased as more brands have come into the market and are becoming favorites. This is a similar phenomenon with T-shirts and Denim in that there is no longer one or only a few top brands mostly as this market moves niche like many others. This represents a market opportunity for many new sneaker brands and concepts in footwear to attract niche subcultures of fans. And as our data has shown over the years, footwear is one of the stronger categories to be in when it comes to youth culture, especially during a recession, as buying patterns tend to decrease less than other categories of merchandise and retail.

Macro Trends: How many pairs of shoes do you purchase each year?
Overall, the number of shoes 13-25-year-olds in North America purchase has dropped slightly from 3.3 pairs to 3 pairs across the board, by gender and age groups in the Spring Study 2009. This is a drop from 4 pairs in the Spring Study 2008. While the market has obviously taken a hit in the recession, in comparison with other markets, such as Denim, Footwear remains relatively stronger. Comparing these results by gender and age groups, along with average spending changes in the last 6 months, we can determine the size of market for footwear and specifically, changes in sneaker culture.

By store and online store looking at the specific demographics of where young people shop for footwear and name as their favorites, you can get a sense of where the market is headed and how also, it correlates with favorite fashion shopping locations. It should be noted that online shopping for footwear remains a strong trend, especially among males, but does represent a strong opportunity for attracting more females. This is also the case for Local Skate Shops (see charts from Spring Study 2009).

For more information about top brands by gender, age groups, top stores, top online sites, and more, including detailed charts, graphs, and images, email; (323) 630-4000 about our Spring Youth Culture Study 2009.