Posts tagged with "Sneakers"

170 footwear firms, including Nike and Adidas, sign letter imploring Trump to halt tariffs

May 21, 2019

More than 170 footwear manufacturers, distributors, and retailers—including Nike, Under Armour, AdidasFoot LockerUgg and Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse—signed and delivered a letter to the White House on May 20, asking President Donald Trump to reconsider his decision to raise tariffs on footwear imported from China, CNBC reported.

The request comes after the White House last week released a new list of about $300 billion in Chinese goods that could get hit with 25% tariffs, if Trump decides to move forward. The list includes footwear, CNBC said— everything from sneakers to sandals, golf shoes, rain boots and ski shoes.

The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, a trade organization for the industry, has estimated the tariffs could cost shoe shoppers more than $7 billion each year.

“There should be no misunderstanding that U.S. consumers pay for tariffs on products that are imported,” the letter said. “As an industry that faces a $3 billion duty bill every year, we can assure you that any increase in the cost of importing shoes has a direct impact on the American footwear consumer. It is an unavoidable fact that as prices go up at the border due to transportation costs, labor rate increases, or additional duties, the consumer pays more for the product.”

Indeed, if the tariffs are enforced, the price of a pair of shoes could hurtle $15 to $20 higher. The shoe companies estimate that a popular type of canvas “skate” sneaker, currently retailing at $49.99, with a 25% tariff, could increase to $65.57. The price of a typical hunting boot would increase from $190 to $248.56. And a popular performance running shoe could jump from $150 to $206.25, FDRA said.

What’s worse, the shoe companies said, “High footwear tariff rates fall disproportionately on working class individuals and families. While U.S. tariffs on all consumer goods average just 1.9 %, they average 11.3% for footwear; and reach rates as high as 67.5%. Adding a 25% tax increase on top of these tariffs would mean some working American families could pay a nearly 100% duty on their shoes. This is unfathomable

The U.S. imported $11.4 billion worth of footwear from China last year, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, making it an industry that is strongly reliant on that country for its cheaper yet skilled labor.

The companies implored the president, “On behalf of our hundreds of millions of footwear consumers and hundreds of thousands of employees, we ask that you immediately stop this action to increase their tax burden. Your proposal to add tariffs on all imports from China is asking the American consumer to foot the bill. It is time to bring this trade war to an end.”

Research contact: @FDRA

Allbirds perches in New York City and plans more stores nationwide

September 5, 2018

The newest product to come out of Silicon Valley needs no tech support—but it’s supporting the feet of such well-known techies as Google Co-founder Larry Page, former Twitter chief Dick Costolo, and venture capitalists Ben Horowitz and Mary Meeker, according to a September 4 report by CNBC.

Called Allbirds, the new brand of footwear—produced with such sustainable resources as merino wool, tree fibers, and sugar— already has won over customers on the West Coast and is expanding fast. The company opened its first store on the East Coast, in New York City, just after Labor Day.

At more than 4,800 square feet, the new flagship location in New York’s SoHo neighborhood on Spring Street will include a “service bar” to help buyers find the right size, along with room for customers to lounge. It will replace its temporary home on Prince Street, which was about 900 square feet and is closing later this week.

Like the wildly popular Warby Parker (eyeglasses), Casper (mattresses), and  Everlane (clothing), Allbirds began business as an etailer.

The company only recently began opening stores, serving as a place for shoppers to try on the sneakers before buying and helping create more buzz around the brand. The company has since launched a new sneaker made out of tree fibers and flip-flops made out of sugar, along with a kids’ line called Smallbirds.

Indeed, the brand has become so buzzworthy that, last month, actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio became an investor, People magazine reported.

Creating sustainable consumer products requires a deep commitment from brands that understand the role they have in helping solve our environmental crisis,” DiCaprio said in an exclusive statement. “Allbirds is on the forefront of developing new materials that will serve as a model for the footwear industry. This kind of innovation is crucial for creating a more sustainable future. I am proud to join the company as an investor.”

“Given how tactile our product and brand story is, it’s important that we continue to create these opportunities to interact with customers,” Allbirds Co-founder Joey Zwillinger said. “Our goal is to continue to create retail spaces that allow customers to truly engage with the brand in an authentic off-line experience that embodies Allbirds’ unique comfort and thoughtful design.”

Allbirds plans to open eight more stores in the United States in locations including Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles,  and Washington, D.C. The company also said it’s thinking about adding two locations overseas.

“There is and has been incredible pent-up demand for Allbirds around the world,” Zwillinger told CNBC. “When we launched the brand, we were thoughtful to keep our distribution limited to the regions we felt we could service impeccably — the United States  and New Zealand, our home countries.”

Since then, Allbirds has grown into Australia and Canada.

Research contact: lauren.thomas@nbcuni.com

Made to order: Why we personalize our purchases

June 15, 2018

Do you like using products that have a personal touch, in terms of color, design, initials, or even taste? Just three years ago, only 17% of U.S. consumers ever had purchased a personalized sneaker, technology product, meal, vacation, or household appliance. However, YouGov reports that, the so-called “personalization economy” has experienced a major increase in demand. Today, at least one in four Americans (26%) say that they have added a personal touch to a product, either for themselves or someone else.

Why personalize? According to the researchers, there are five major reasons why consumers take this approach—among them:

  1. To design a product to meet a specific need (types of materials, shape, size, duration);
  2. To identify a product as “belonging to me;”
  3. To design something just for fun;
  4. To feel pride in creating/designing something;
  5. To demonstrate creativity; or
  6. To stand out from other people.

Among those who create their own unique products, sneakers (29%) and other forms of apparel are tops for personalization, tied by food and beverages (29%); and followed by technology products (27%), vacation and travel experiences (25%), and household goods (22%).

What’s more, personalizers can be identified by their age and personality traits. They are generally younger (40% Millennials), highly educated (30%), and have disposable income to spend (31%). Indeed, nearly half of this group (46%) say that they would be willing to pay more for an individualized product; which enables brands to market to them at a premium.

In addition, most personalizers could be described as social, outgoing, and optimistic, according to YouGov.

Data on the online behaviors of this particular consumer segment is rich, YouGov says. It demonstrates that personalizers aren’t simply tech-savvy—they strive to be early adopters of technology. That may explain why they’re more likely to be a part of the ever-growing live streaming audience. Live streaming may not be new, but fueled by social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, and Twitch, the format has been reinvigorated by a surge of mobile users. Personalizers tend to use their smartphones (38%) most of all of their devices and a majority (62%) say they watch live streams.

Given that personalizers tend to be social and that the heart of a live streaming channel is its community, the two seem to go hand-in-hand. It’s also an interactive platform that allows brands to get immediate, real-time data about their viewers.

What’s more, compared to people who have never done so, personalizers are more likely to go to movie theaters, listen to online radio, or play games on a console. A multi-platform approach may prove the best way to stay connected with these digital natives.

Finally, the researchers believe, the personalization economy will continue to grow and shape what consumers expect from products and services. Whether a brand already offers personalization or is still testing the waters, looking to what makes the consumer tick is the key.

From an opportunity perspective, they say, brands can get closer to their customers by using personalization as a transformative tool—one that turns a product into a shared experience using a brand’s resources and consumer’s sense of identity.

Research contact: ted.marzilli@yougov.com