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Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success

by 
Lila Margalit
 on 
October 24, 2023
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success

With the holiday season just around the corner, we dove into the data for two brands that are rocking the shoe store and apparel space: Crocs and Boot Barn. While each of these brands occupies a different niche in the market, both are growing their audiences and significantly outperforming the wider apparel category.

From Ugly-Chic to Coastal Cowgirl 

Crocs has come a long way since its debut as an oddly-shaped boating shoe in the early aughts. Once favored by dads and other conspicuously uncool consumers, the brand has emerged more recently as a Gen Z favorite. And while the iconic ‘ugly-chic’ shoe is riding a growth wave jump-started by the pandemic, the chain’s surging popularity doesn’t show any signs of abating. Between July and September, Crocs’ physical stores saw significant year-over-year (YoY) monthly visit growth, with overall Q3 2023 visits up 13.1%. 

But foam clogs aren’t for everyone. Whether inspired by Taylor Swift or social media trends like “coastal cowgirl,” cowboy boots are also having a moment. And visits to Western-focused footwear and lifestyle chain Boot Barn also increased in Q3 2023. While the chain’s 4.3% YoY quarterly foot traffic increase was not as steep as that of Crocs, it remains an impressive showing given the wider economic headwinds. 

Different Seasonal Trends for the Two Brands

Crocs’ greater visit growth in Q3 2023 could be partially due to the different seasonal trends in the two brands’ visit patterns – visits to Boot Barn peak in December, while Crocs attracts its largest share of customers during the summer. The difference in seasonality is not necessarily surprising: After all, Crocs’ classic model is a water-friendly rubber shoe that is perfect for the pool or beach, while Boot Barn’s focus on boots means the chain is particularly relevant during the colder months. And buying shoes for other people, it seems, can be a tricky business – perhaps positioning Crocs as a less obvious destination for Christmas shoppers. Boot Barn’s broad range of merchandise, on the other hand, may position the chain as a great place for gift buyers to pick something up for the Westerncore fans in their lives. Either way, Boot Barn’s visit growth may well catch up with Crocs once winter comes around.

And although the chains’ visit patterns exhibit different seasonal peaks, Crocs and Boot Barn do share one thing in common – for both brands, Black Friday is by far the busiest day of the year, drawing more than four times the average number of daily visitors in 2022. So as the retail holiday approaches, both chains can expect to see a significant boost in visits. 

Who is Driving Visits to These Chains? 

Layering foot traffic data with demographic and psychographic data sets shows that Crocs and Boot Barn are each finding success by appealing to different market segments. The two brands exude a youthful vibe – and their captured markets both boast a greater-than-average share of college students. But perhaps unsurprisingly, Boot Barn is also beloved by Spatial.ai’s #WideOpenSpaces segment – a group made up of older consumers hailing from farming communities. Crocs’ own recent foray into cowboy boots notwithstanding, its captured market features a much lower share of this demographic. Instead, Crocs attracts an outsize share of #ScenicSeniors – upper-middle-class retirees living in beachfront and mountain towns. With both brands finding their niche, Crocs and Boot Barn can expect to continue their upwards trajectory. 

Key Takeaways

The ongoing success of Crocs and Boot Barn – two very different brands that are thriving in what continues to be a challenging market for clothing retailers – shows that there’s plenty of room at the top for a variety of footwear and apparel chains. What does the holiday season have in store for these iconic brands? And how will they fare as the year winds down? 

Follow Placer.ai’s data-driven analyses to find out. 

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