The sneaker resale biz is losing its soul
The Future. When the pandemic bubble popped – with the end of the stimulus check and the rise of inflation – the sneaker resale market deflated from a crackdown on bots, an increase in shoe production, and a general loss of confidence in the industry. As consumers become less willing to pay top dollar for kicks, resale companies may have to expand their offerings beyond shoes to bring in more revenue.
Laced with drama
Insider breaks down the sneaker resale slump.
- In May 2022, Zadeh Kicks dissolved after it ripped off more than $70 million in undelivered sneakers from buyers. The Department of Justice is currently investigating the reseller for bank and wire fraud.
- Last May, Nike filed a lawsuit against StockX claiming it sold counterfeit shoes — which drove StockX to change the language on its products from “verified authentic” to “StockX authentic” last fall.
- In October 2022, Nike updated its terms of sale, warning it reserved the right to cancel sales “placed with automated ordering software” as well as purchases “for the purpose of resale.”
- eBay’s Black Friday sales of all athletic shoes (including Jordans) fell by 31.6% in 2022, with the average price down by 16.2%.
- At the end of the year, eBay brought back seller fees for shoes listed above $150 — a reversal from the no-fee policy the site announced in December 2019.
Rebooting the biz
The last couple of years have seen the rise and fall of an industry that thrived during the height of the pandemic, where consumers spent government checks extravagantly post-lockdown.
Now, sneaker sellers are hustling to offload their products while consumers tighten their belts. If sellers hope to rebound, they may have to adjust their business models to include more revenue streams, such as collectibles, electronics, and trading cards.
A new design for a new era.