Home Blog A Lesson from Aesop, for the Sneaker Business

The NPD Group Blog

Insights and Opinions From Analysts and Experts in More Than 20 Industries

Sep 29, 2017

Sneakernomics: The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs

Matt Powell, Vice President, Senior Industry Advisor ;

Sports

@NPDMattPowell

In one of Aesop’s Fables, “The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs,” a farmer owns a goose that lays a golden egg every day. The farmer assumes that the goose must have a huge amount of gold inside it. The farmer kills the goose, and finds it to be no different than an ordinary goose, but in doing so also kills off the supply of golden eggs. Greed won out over easy wealth.

This parable provides some interesting insight into the sneaker business. Unrequited demand has been one of the key growth drivers in athletic footwear. Consumers who could not get a limited shoe came back for the next release (and the next), in hopes of acquiring a rare product.

Many brands have benefitted from this strategy, but now the industry seems to be chasing after the easy short-term sale rather than longer term sustainable growth.

Instead of seeing the release business as an annuity, some brands are trying to drive big sales increases on the back of release product. Product that was previously viewed as rare and special is on the way to becoming a commodity.

New shoe releases are sitting on shelves for weeks, as opposed to selling out in hours. Feedback from the sneaker community is that release shoes that don’t sell out are not as “cool” as they used to be. In many cases, release shoes have to be marked down to move. Previously, we rarely saw release shoes on clearance.

There is collateral damage in abandoning the scarcity model. Tangential styles that served as a substitute for sold out release product have also slowed.

Some of the recent market share shifts are likely tied to consumers’ changing perception.

The lesson for the sneaker industry is that selling out of a shoe quickly is very good for business. As one of my Twitter followers said, “The last sale is the most expensive.”

Unrequited demand is one business practice that has held up well over the years. Oversupply will “kill the goose.”


Stay current in your industry
SUBSCRIBE

Related Blog Posts


Back-Pedaling: Sales of Children’s Bikes Are Slowing
Back-Pedaling: Sales of Children’s Bikes Are Slowing

Decline in children's bike sales and a look at what can be done to change directions.

Sneakernomics: In the World of Market Research, Your Network is Your Net Worth
Sneakernomics: In the World of Market Research, Your Network is Your Net Worth

NPD Senior Industry Advisor, Matt Powell, shares his thoughts around the power of networking, as well as his personal LinkedIn and Twitter strategies

Sneakernomics: Athletic Footwear and Activewear’s Q1 Performance
Sneakernomics: Athletic Footwear and Activewear’s Q1 Performance

A series of headwinds dampened U.S. athletic footwear and activewear sales in the first quarter of 2019. In January, the 53rd week in last year’s retail calendar which was accounted for in January 2018 significantly impacted the comparisons; in February, the later and lower IRS refunds dampened results; and the later Easter affected March performance.

Sneakernomics: Q1 2019 Golf and Team Sports Equipment Recap
Sneakernomics: Q1 2019 Golf and Team Sports Equipment Recap

Will golf sales get a lift from Tiger Woods’ recent win? Matt Powell recaps how the team sports markets including golf, baseball, basketball and others fared during the first quarter of 2019.

Subscribe to our blog

Newsletter

Subscribe and get key market trends and insights relevant to your industry each month.

We will not sell your information. View privacy notice.

Follow Us

© The NPD Group, Inc.