homestoryboard18 NewsStoryboard18 | India is ‘sneaking’ in a billion dollar industry in shoe boxes

Storyboard18 | India is ‘sneaking’ in a billion-dollar industry in shoe boxes

Storyboard18 | India is ‘sneaking’ in a billion-dollar industry in shoe boxes

By Tasmayee Laha Roy  Apr 26, 2022 8:39:41 PM IST (Updated)

Untouched by the pandemic, the sneaker culture in India is on a rapid growth trajectory. From customizing sneakers to reselling limited pairs at a 10X mark up, the sneaker business in the country is lacing up.

An HNI bride flew from Dubai to meet multimedia artist Param Sahib Singh in Delhi this wedding season. She didn’t fly down to buy her bridal lehenga. She flew in to get herself her wedding shoes which was an exclusive pair of suede high boots customized as per her taste.

Param who is known for his street fashion line and eclectic art on sneakers had to sign an NDA to keep the bride’s identity hidden and the image of the shoe away from social media. The said bride spent Rs2 lakh on her boots.
Param takes up customization orders that go up to a lakh and some of these customizations take more than two months to implement.
He says, “Customizing your sneaker is like getting a tattoo. It's personal and it reflects your style.”
Customization however is just one part of the sneaker boom in the country.
The Indian sneaker market is literally going places.
As per market and consumer data experts Statista, revenue in the sneakers segment in India amounts to $2.60 billion in 2022 and the market is expected to grow annually by 11.58 percent.
Also Read:
Interestingly the major chunk of money generated in the segment doesn’t come from the retail business.
Cop and drop
Alongside the regular retail sales, what is pushing the numbers in sneaker business out of the park is the resale market where it is all about ‘cop’ and ‘drop’. In sneaker lingo, ‘drop’ is when popular labels like Nike, Adidas, Jordan and others announce new launches and ‘copping’ is the act of successfully buying a pair of sneakers.
Explaining how it all works Danish Chawla, Co-Founder at Find Your Kicks India says, “Brands announce their launches at a fixed time. Nike, for instance, drops their collection at 7.30 am IST and within a minute the entire collection is sold. Sometimes collections also sell out in less than 10 seconds. This is when marketplaces like us get in touch with resellers and stock up the limited edition pairs for sneakerheads.”
Interestingly, according to Chawla, the sneaker business wasn’t hit by the pandemic at all. The brands didn’t miss a single drop and it was business as usual. In fact, Chawla’s business also started during the pandemic in October 2020.
Valued at Rs4 crore, Find Your Kicks India works with close to 3000 resellers who pay the platform a monthly subscription fee between Rs1500-6000. The platform sells anywhere between 300 and 500 sneakers a month.
Chawla also mentions that not every sneaker goes on to become a rage. Marketplaces have a proper analysis system in place that identify sneakers with a potential to become a rare asset that can be sold at a remarkable price.
A sneaker by a Nike or an Adidas with an MRP of Rs20000 approximately can be sold for as high as Rs 2 lakhs in the resale market, says Chawla.
The Air Jordan 1 Mocha, for instance, that was retailed at Rs15000 is now priced at Rs50000 approximately in the resale market and The Air Jordan I High Travis Scott that was also retailed at the same price now costs above Rs1.5 lakh. The markup is usually charged on the basis of hype and availability because most of these pairs are released as limited edition merchandise by the brands.
Talking of availability, a reseller, 20-year-old Ayush Chawla, says until some time back people engaged bots for copping and it was not just impossible for individuals to get their hands on a pair of sneakers when they were released but difficult for resellers too.
“Brands now have a lucky draw process where resellers like us can easily cop. For individuals though it can take at least 10-15 attempts to buy a single pair,” he says.
But what makes all these efforts worth it for sneakerheads?
Dhruv Sheth, COO at OML Entertainment Private Limited who is also a sneakerhead and owns about 60 pairs of sneakers himself says sneakers today are like rare commodities. He says sneakers are fashion statement with no size discrimination.
“StockX and Goat, both unicorns, now buy and sell shoes and trade them like rare commodities and that is exactly what the sneaker culture is all about. It is about the hype and it is about copping a rare pair. The entry of luxe brands in the segment and collaborations like the Dior-Nike collab is making the space more interesting,” he says.
According to Seth sneakerheads are ready to pay prices as high as Rs4 lakhs on a sneaker that was retailed at Rs15000 but are very rare to find.
Who’s buying? Experts suggest that the space is dominated by millennials in the age group of 14-30.
Marketplaces Galore
While there are only two big retailers in the segment VegNonVeg and Supekicks, there are umpteen market places in India where sneakerheads source their latest pairs from.
Param Minhas, founder and CEO at one of the most popular sneaker marketplace in the country SoleSearch says close to a year and half back Instagram saw an avalanche of resellers in India, all of them selling hype sneakers. “This is where marketplaces like us and a few others come in. We organized the business and started categorizing each and every pair as per size, style, availability etc,” Minhas says.
After operating through Instagram, SoleSearch launched its own website this January and ever since they have been clocking in sales to the tune of a crore monthly where the average ticket size, of the close to 100 pairs sold a month, is about Rs25000.
According to Minhas there is a new market place player entering the segment every day because of the demand and the sheer volume of business being done in the country.
Conventions and brand collabs
However, regardless of the sales in the segment, there is still a bit of a bad reputation attached to ‘reselling’ , says Minhas and keeping that in mind his company has created an IP that is an exhibition of sorts to give a platform to all the artists and stakeholders in the space.
“The sneaker culture like we see in a lot of brand collaborations is not just about a pair of shoes, it is also about art, artists, expressions, innovations and above all creativity. Hence creating a platform for stakeholders is very important,” he says.
SoleSearch has created a convention for sneaker enthusiasts both on the buyer and seller side and has put together eight editions of it in the last six months across the country in places like Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Goa and others, where each vendor sells products worth Rs4-5 lakh per day.
Brands not in the fashion space have also taken interest in the segment due to the growing hype of the community.
Tinder, for instance, in the past week released a limited-edition, capsule collection of 10 sneakers with FILA, hand illustrated by artists across India, highlighting the theme of identity, authenticity and diversity.
‘Sneaker’ as one of the interests grew by 2.5X in 2021 on Tinder, which is a clear testament of Gen-Z’s affinity in using sneakers to let a potential match know what their ‘vibe’ is.
Sneakers are a gender-neutral streetwear symbol that are non-conforming to traditional fashion, rules, and regulations,” says Aahana Dhar, Director - Communications, Tinder India, adding that it is exactly the beliefs that their Gen-Z members embody.
Check out our in-depth Market Coverage, Business News & get real-time Stock Market Updates on CNBC-TV18. Also, Watch our channels CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz and CNBC Bajar Live on-the-go!

Recommended Articles

View All