Footwear is one of the year’s big winners in the apparel category. And perhaps no brands have made bigger strides than Crocs and New Balance. Often labeled as “dad shoes” – or simply “uncool” – Crocs and New Balance have been the subject of much fashion debate over the years. But recently, these brands have become more popular than ever – adorning the feet of a new generation of consumers. We dove into the foot traffic and visitor demographics for Crocs and New Balance stores in order to take a closer look at how these shoe brands are driving visits.
The Perfect Fit
In recent years, Crocs and New Balance’s success has been driven at least in part by the sustained demand for comfortable footwear as well as designer and celebrity collaborations. During the pandemic, consumers zooming from home or running errands crowned comfort as king. And now, Justin Bieber and other big names can be regularly spotted in quick-to-sell-out Crocs and New Balances – many of which have been designed by the stars themselves.
Since the start of 2023, Crocs and New Balance have experienced consistent year-over-year (YoY) visit growth – outperforming shoe stores as a whole in Q1 and Q2 2023. New Balance and Crocs’ consistent visit growth could indicate that the brands have their right foot forward and are on track to meet aggressive business goals. Both Crocs and New Balance reported record revenue in 2022 of $3.6B and $5.3B, respectively. And after a strong Q1 2023, Crocs raised its revenue expectations for Q2 and 2023 overall, while New Balance CEO Joe Preston has said he expects revenue to reach between $7B and $10B in the coming years.
Driving Traffic By Design
Along with comfort and celebrity backers, location intelligence metrics for visitor behavior revealed the role that self-expression plays in consumers’ relationships with New Balance and Crocs. The holes on Crocs clogs originally filled a need for ventilation and drainage in an amphibious shoe. But enthusiasts quickly found a way to turn the iconic feature into an opportunity for personalization with attachable charms or “Jibbitz”.
In H1 2023, Crocs saw a higher share of weekend visits than New Balance. This could be because Jibbitz help Crocs stores tap into demand for experiential elements in retail. Since building a unique shoe is an activity in and of itself, consumers might be more inclined to visit on the weekend when they can take the time to personalize their pair.
But while Crocs received a larger share of weekend visits in H1 2023, New Balance received a greater share of repeat traffic than Crocs, perhaps because multiple pairs of sneakers are needed to highlight a personal style.
Beyond their style, Crocs and New Balance are known for comfort and functionality and are exceptionally popular with workers who spend a lot of time on their feet – either on the job or when relaxing after a full day. Crocs even has a line with anti-slip soles and fully closed toes to meet workplace standards.
Trade Area Analysis of Crocs and New Balance’s captured markets revealed that in H1 2023 both brands garnered a relatively higher share of visitors who work in industries where employees typically spend many hours on their feet. According to the STI: Workplace dataset, Crocs and New Balances’ trade areas had 64% and 53% more construction workers and 43% and 47% more employees in education, training, and library than the national averages, respectively.
This indicates that Crocs and New Balance resonate with visitors with many footwear needs. As both brands build their reputations as fashion footwear, they continue to pass the test for consumers who value their decades-long commitment to comfort and performance.
Crocs and New Balance have been around the block and their comfort and quality remain brand staples. While still coveted by dads, these footwear brands are now reaching consumers in the fashion and pop-culture spheres and are quickly becoming a top choice among consumers who value the latest trends and self-expression.
For updates and more data-driven foot traffic insights, visit Placer.ai.