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Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale

Ezra Carmel
April 17, 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale

Crocs’ rebrand from ugly to chic is one of retail’s most fascinating Cinderella stories (glass clog, anyone?). We dive into the latest location analytics and demographic data to explore the consumer behavior that drives Crocs’ continued success. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • A combination of designer partnerships and the entrenchment of comfort in today’s footwear landscape are driving visits to the brand.
  • Crocs’ strategy of opening new stores in outlet malls is positioning the brand in front of more of its target audience.

Partnerships and Pandemic Popularity 

Embarking on a journey to become a fashionable brand, in 2017 Crocs inked a partnership with Christopher Kane who became the first designer to collaborate with the brand. A stampede of designer and celebrity-inspired styles followed in 2018 and 2019 including Balenciaga's iconic ten-inch platform Croc and Post Malone's take on the classic clog. 

During the pandemic, Crocs built on its success in fashion and celebrity circles, and gained a new following from comfort-first shoe shoppers stuck at home or running errands.

Taking a wide lens on Crocs’ foot traffic since 2018 shows how a strategy of designer partnerships as well as recognition as a functional shoe drives visits to the brand. In 2018 and 2019, as designer Crocs rolled out, visits to the brand climbed to new heights. 

And since the wider retail reopening in 2021, Crocs’ foot traffic growth has accelerated as comfort reigns supreme in and out of the home.

Compared to a Q1 2018 baseline, Crocs saw its largest monthly visit peak in Q3 2023 (199.1%) – the critical summer period. And foot traffic in the most recent Q1 2024 was 43.7% above the Q1 2018 baseline. This indicates that the shoe’s acceptance within pop-culture combined with demand for comfortable footwear is elevating the brand’s traffic to new levels.

Real Estate Strategy Helps ‘Democratize’ the Brand

As Crocs continues to gain traction, the company appears to be pursuing a real estate strategy aimed at repositioning the brand as an affordable shoe for the whole family. Although Crocs shrank its store count in the years leading up to the pandemic, the brand has now begun opening new locations in outlet malls – five in 2023, with plans for 30 new stores in outlet malls in 2024. 

Analyzing Crocs’ trade areas between 2018 and 2023 suggests that this strategy is helping the brand reach its audience. According to the STI: Popstats 2023 dataset, in 2018, there was a gap of more than $6K between the median household income (HHI) in Crocs’ potential market ($81.0K/year) and in its captured market ($74.7K/year). But by 2023, the median HHI of the brand’s potential market ($75.5K) and captured market ($75.9K) had more closely aligned. This indicates that by opening stores in outlet malls – where consumers looking for discounts are likely to shop – Crocs’ potential market more closely reflects its actual visitors and the brand can drive additional traffic from its target audience.

Happily Ever After

From humble beginnings, Crocs have become runway-famous. And yet, the clogs are more popular than ever with the everyday consumer – at home or out on the town. How will Crocs shape the next chapter of this foam fairytale?

Visit to find out.

This blog includes data from Data Version 2.0, which implements improvements to our extrapolation capabilities, adds short visit monitoring, and enhances visit detection.

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