New research has found that young men aged between 16 and 24 were the most likely group to buy footwear last year – 95% of them made a purchase, compared with 90% of their female counterparts.
The research from market intelligence agency Mintel found that, overall, women are still more likely to purchase footwear than men, at 86% compared to 78% respectively, but the continuation of the casual and athleisure trends is driving the male market.
Men’s footwear accounted for 37% of all footwear sales in 2017, and were worth £4.4bn, up from 34% in 2015.
Women’s footwear accounted for the greatest market value, at £5.5bn, but sector sales have slipped from 50% in 2015 to 46% in 2017.
“Men’s footwear, particularly among younger age groups, is really fuelling growth in the footwear sector,” said Chana Baram, retail analyst at Mintel. “In fact, our research shows that men aged 16 to 24 are more likely to be swayed by big brand names than women of the same age.
“With trainers such a popular category for men as a whole, young men in particular are likely to respond positively to advertising campaigns by the big sports brands that feature their favourite male sports personalities.”
The research also found that sales of heeled shoes among women fell from 29% in 2017 to 22% in 2018, and flat sandals are now as popular as heeled shoes at 22%.
More than one-fifth of people (22%) said they liked the idea of vegan (non-leather) footwear, increasing to one-third (32%) of shoppers aged 16 to 34.
The market intelligence agency surveyed 2,000 internet users in May 2018 and found that 40% would be interested in buying re-released, iconic footwear. Men aged 16 to 34 drove this statistic, as 59% expressed an interest in retro styles, compared with 56% of women in the same age bracket.
“Our research highlights a strong interest in retro brands as many Brits hark back to shoes from the past,” added Chana. “In a world of increasing uncertainty, consumers are craving things from a more reassuring time and brands are now playing on this sensibility by re-releasing classic styles.”