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How is the sneaker market doing in 2023 - 10 signs of a recession

How is the sneaker market doing in 2023 - 10 signs of a recession
  • 27 October 2023
  • Posted By : Charly

How is the sneaker market doing in 2023 ? We've broken down 10 signs of a recession in the sneaker industry.
From less demand, to the fall of certain communities, to an analysis of evening sneaker releases, check our full view on this topic.

1 - Lower floor prices for hype products

Quite a few hype pairs have seen their prices plummet over the past 2 years.
Recent inflation and the global economic context have meant that everyone is closer to their money.
Less demand for sneakers and other collectibles has mechanically lowered the floor prices of items on resale platforms.
This is the case, for example, with Supreme logo boxes and many Air Jordan 1 High OGs.

2 - The famous Supreme Streetwear brand in retreat

Supreme drops attract much less attention and most items remain in stock.
Remember those days when everyone was waiting to hear about the week's Supreme drops and 80% of the stock was sold out within minutes?
Photo montages of confirmed items with speculation on the most coveted items.
All this is much rarer these days, and most items remain in stock long after drop day.

3 - The era of sneaker bots seems over

A few years ago, bots were seen by many as a real curse for the sneaker market.
Releases sold out instantly, raffles with thousands of entries per person, and so on.
Many bots had been developed by solid teams and were (re)selling at a high price. In today's context, bots haven't disappeared, but they're much less talked about.
What's the point of paying for a bot and all the setup that goes with it if you can buy your pair at noon in the morning or with +20€ on Stockx or Goat ?

4 - The season of Cookgroups and success showoffs is over.

Often paired with bots, Cookgroups - those famous private Discord groups with monitors giving alerts on the availability of the most requested items - are becoming increasingly rare.
Fewer requests for most hype products has made the business model for these groups much less relevant. Weekly screenshots of Success across the twitter timeline are less and less topical.
Some have diversified, notably into Web3 with NFTs, or into collectibles in general, such as pokemon cards, luxury items and so on.

5 - Fewer and fewer sneaker releases in the form of Raffles

You've probably noticed. The widespread use of Raffle releases is in full reverse, given the current market.
Signing up for 5 Raffles and winning the same pair 5 times isn't necessarily what customers want (unless their resale value is high, in which case they rarely win).
We're back to good old-fashioned first-come, first-served. Luck is out of the equation. Some retailers still leave raffles until the day before the release and end up converting them to FCFS at the last minute.
Certainly due to a lack of input…

6 - More and more early drops.

Since COVID-19, the sneaker release calendar has become chaotic. Release dates have become more and more random and irregular, with sometimes very large time gaps for the same pair.
As a result, we're seeing more and more early releases these days, where before, brand-imposed embargoes were meticulously respected by retailers.
Midnight drops have also resurfaced, versus the usual 9AM drop established years ago.

7 - Most sneaker releases can be easily purchased online.

Just a few years ago, the sneaker market had become so tight that no one could guarantee a W before a pair was released.
Shops faced with the gigantic demand for hype releases all ended up implementing the raffle system, which was designed both to create a fair process for sneaker fans, and to combat online robots and crowds in front of stores.
Since 2022, the market has eased considerably, and collectors and the general public alike are much more confident about their chances of getting a pair at retail price with just a few clicks.
But are sneaker customers that much happier? Not necessarily: less demand, less hype, pairs remain on the shelves.
We want what we can't have. Having a pair that's still available everywhere and that everyone can buy is much less attractive than getting a rare pair that you can't find everywhere.
In fact, this is one of the marketing approaches most often used by major brands.

8 - A growing number of promo codes

With demand for sneakers falling, it's becoming harder for boutiques to clear their stock easily.
In addition to the big annual sales periods, more and more boutiques are resorting to more occasional and shorter promotions with a coupon code.
These tend to be flash promotions, lasting only a few days or a few hours at a time, in an attempt to create a buying frenzy among consumers.
This remains a good option for pairs in moderate demand that don't sell out completely at retail price, but which go on sale fairly quickly.

9 - Pairs don't move as fast as they used to

Many previously highly coveted models are now sitting on the shelves without finding a buyer at full price.
Air Jordan 1 HighAir Jordan 1 MidNike DunkYeezy 350 V2 - silhouettes that hardly ever made it to the sales have ended up there.
Is this really the result of a recession? No, it's not. Many factors are at play: models flooded in quantity by brands, prices on the rise, colors running out of steam and too many boxes piling up with collectors.
So many reasons that have led us straight into a new cycle.

10 - Sales on increasingly interesting items

When demand was at its peak, sneaker fans emptied entire stocks of sneakers in a matter of seconds or hours. This short-circuited the commercial life cycle of many models, which never made it to the sale.
Now that the market has slowed down, more and more formerly hype products are making their appearance in the Sale sections of online stores.
Air Jordan 1 HighMid or Low and Nike Dunks Low spring to mind. At adidas, various Yeezy models were no exception, ending up at reduced prices.
Other collaborations, such as those with Pharrell Williams or Bape, are also in this category. As for New Balance, the Protection pack is also showing its under-retail stocks, accompanied by well-functioning models such as the 550 or 9060.
No brand is spared. To the great pleasure of our wallets, this allows everyone to spend less on sneakers by waiting a little, especially when we know the inflation and the rise in retail prices these days.

All these signs and more show that we have reached the end of a cycle. For almost 10 years, the market has continued to grow in tandem with the explosion of social networking. A whole generation has amassed vast quantities of sneakers, only to slow down or move on.
Do we need a new generation of consumers to get the market moving again? Certainly, but it will happen slowly and with many other associated factors.
In any case, stay tuned to for the latest news on the sneaker market.