How one sneaker seller avoided supply chain issues

Like most retail operators, sneakerheads have found themselves battered by COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions – except one.

Sneaker seller GOAT Group, known primarily for its aftermarket offerings, has excelled amidst global bottlenecks by leveraging supplier diversity.

Once a symbol of athletics, sneakers have morphed into a fashionable — and often expensive — object of desire. From activewear to catwalk fashion, the footwear category has established itself as a ‘hot’ product – and GOAT’s key to success is giving consumers what they want on its platform, when they want it. .

“We don’t have just one vendor that we rely on for supply. We have over 700,000 sellers globally who have supply,” co-founder and CEO Eddy Lu told Yahoo Finance on Friday.

“If you want a sneaker from five years ago, 10 years ago we have it on GOAT, so it’s been a banner year for [us]Lu added.

During COVID, the sneaker industry has seen a fair share of mishaps with ever-changing release dates and brands suffering from factory closures in Asia. Other projects were pushed back when big-name collaborators were forced out following the Astroworld festival tragedy.

With supply chain issues dominating all conversations late last year, the delays put some sports brands and retailers at risk of missing crucial inventory targets. The pandemic has also forced periodic shutdowns of factories in China, Malaysia and Vietnam, halting production for months at a time.

“We haven’t seen as much supply chain impact as some other companies,” Lu said.

“Every country has its own high-end sneaker…in the Middle East, for example, the Yeezys were the best sneakers of the year,” he added.

women sneakerheads

PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 20: Guest wears long black coat, blue denim pants, tan leather sneakers by Balanciaga outside Rains during Paris Fashion Week – Menswear F/W 2022- 2023, on January 20, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

The global sneaker market was valued at around $79 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $120 billion by 2026. In fact, the coveted category has become one of the top-selling in the online luxury market .

High fashion brands like Gucci and Balenciaga are setting the tone in the luxury sneaker market. Three years ago, Balenciaga’s Triple S’s became the best-selling sneakers in the luxury sneaker market, thanks to increased popularity among female buyers.

“We see that the female population currently represents 40% of our customer base and continues to grow,” Lu told Yahoo Finance.

Meanwhile, more and more secondary markets are dipping into the space of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that are tied to physical products, allowing traders to buy and sell collectibles without needing to ship them. or possess them physically.

GOAT Group is also heading in this direction. During Black Friday, the company launched a campaign called “spaces” that would take consumers to “virtually themed worlds” where they could access their products in different settings.

Besides sneakers, a new hype for men – shoulder bags – have become wardrobe staples for urban Gen Z and Millennials, as pandemic-era trends like masks and hand sanitizer require more pockets to carry them.

According to the NPD Group, U.S. sales of men’s and unisex handbags grew nearly 700% in 2021 compared to 2018 — and GOAT is tapping into that interest.

“The accessory side is one of our fastest growing markets,” Lu said. “We continue to invest time and product to bring those options to our consumers.”

He added that “fashion spans all genders…continue to be excited about the options for our female and male consumers,” he added.

Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @daniromerotv

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