Skechers steps it up with mounting demand for practical footwear

GlobalData Retail 5 February 2021 (Last Updated February 5th, 2021 15:13)

Skechers steps it up with mounting demand for practical footwear
Credit: Alejandro_Munoz / Shutterstock.

Skechers stepped its game up in Q4 FY2020, with revenue only contracting by $6m to $1.3bn as its digital-centric, internationally oriented strategies proved successful. As a result, FY2020 revenue witnessed a somewhat more subdued fall, decreasing $622.7m to $4.6bn, proving that appetite for Skechers’ practical footwear has sustained relevance throughout the pandemic. The retailers’ emphasis on comfort allowed it to benefit from heightened demand as consumers became increasingly active and spent more time outdoors. A continued focus on expanding brand awareness while strengthening its international availability through improved ecommerce offerings will be key for Skechers’ ongoing success.

While China was the star performer throughout Q4 with wholesale revenue in the region soaring 29.7%, Skechers also yielded impressive wholesale growth of 22.9% across its European markets. The retailer broadened its international reach through additional joint ventures and subsidiaries, while also bolstering its appeal by shifting away from traditional advertising in favour of a refined digital media strategy. These efforts softened a 21.7% decline in international direct-to-consumer (DTC) retail sales due to temporary store closures, giving way to an overall 1.1% increase in Q4 total international sales. To boost its DTC performance through ameliorated customer targeting and retention, Skechers announced a new loyalty programme, which will unearth additional customer data on ten million shoppers. Investing in analytics is a further testament to Skechers’ digital focus and will undoubtedly aid its understanding of its core consumer, leading to improved customer relationships.

Skechers has doubled down on lifestyle footwear due to ongoing demand for practical styles from health-conscious customers and essential workers throughout the pandemic. The retailer also benefitted from its work collection and boots, which provide it with a distinguishing factor from rivals such as Nike and Puma, which are more focused on sports and streetwear. Unlike its competitors, Skechers has veered away from partnerships with star athletes, instead joining forces with famed American sports commentator Tony Romo for a Superbowl campaign promoting the practicality of its slip-on shoe line. By further carving its niche in comfort rather than performance footwear, Skechers will continue to better differentiate itself, as few can compete with the heavyweight sports brands such as Nike and Adidas.