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Sneaker Prices Rising, but so is Discounting

Something has got to give, right?

Average sneaker prices have surged to record levels in the U.S., rising by 12.3 percent since the turn of the decade, according to the Sneaker Market Index. The rise shows no sign of slowing, as sneaker prices have increased by 4.3 percent since the start of this year. Item prices averaged $126.89 across the category in March 2023—a $9.07 jump on average, compared to the same period last year. The record price levels in March follows significant price increases seen during 2022, as average sneaker prices rose by 4.6 percent over the course of the year.

But that doesn’t meant consumers are actually paying those prices. Because the data also reveals that retailers and brands are increasingly turning to discounting to shed excess inventory. In fact, Sneaker Market Index data shows that the depth of discounting has reached its highest average since March 2021. Over the last two quarters, the average discount per item has increased by 42.7 percent year-on-year.

Centric Pricing expert Elizabeth Shobert says the data reveals some interesting trends. “Brands and retailers are pricing sneakers higher and higher, which is not surprising when we consider the wider context of inflation and its impact on raw material, shipping, and energy costs,” she says. “However, higher original prices are not being followed by sales at full price as consumers face discretionary spending pressure.” Shobert adds that the breadth and depth of discounting is noticeably increasing. “Brands and retailers are being pushed to drop prices in order to move aging inventory,” she says. “To navigate the ongoing volatility, companies will need to do a better job at predicting trends and focus more on producing exactly the products that consumers want, and in the right amounts; planning more targeted assortments by channel and store; and using resources more efficiently to control design and production costs.”

The data has been compiled by the competitor benchmarking, pricing intelligence, and trend forecasting platform Centric Pricing, following the launch of the Sneaker Market Index. Detailed market insights are gathered weekly from ecommerce listings to reveal category pricing and discounting levels.

The July 2024 Issue

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