The sneaker market has undergone a few drastic changes in the last few years. The arrival of Boost and Yeezy, the big Air Max comeback or OFF-WHITE going from strength to strength, just to name a few. Some of these trends are felt in the retail landscape, but the secondary market has its own twist to the story. So what are the most important trends for resellers and sneakerheads buying and selling on the most relevant platforms? We linked up with the marketplace Presented by KLEKT. Just as they are leaving their traditional marketplace behind and moving towards a consignment model under the name, they shared their most telling numbers with us. Getting a closer look at second market sneaker statistics, here are some of the current trends and a few insights from the team.
Illustrations by Jeff Östberg
Do you think that a marketplace is representative of the normal sneaker market?
We think the second market is not quite the same as the retail market. Of course we know hyped stuff is instantly sold out on the retail market and it is somehow the base for the second market and defines big parts of it. That’s why from our point of view hype and limitation are the two most successful ingredients. Of course we also have people hunting for vintage sneakers or people who are interested in making some bargains for older general releases. But as you can see, the numbers speak for themselves for the hype category.
The sneaker statistics we are looking at compare 2016 and 2017 and a few brands have seen a noticeable decrease. Why do you think that is the case?
It is related to the change of our target group, as it seems like nearly everyone wants a piece of the hype cake. And since hyped stuff was mostly produced by brands like adidas, Nike or Supreme, this circumstance also affected other brands. Smaller brands always have to struggle and if numbers should go up for brands like New Balance, Asics or Diadora they have to come out with some strong collaborations to really affect the second market sales. Especially regarding Asics, it was a bit more quiet after their huge year with the GEL-LYTE III 25th anniversary series. And for New Balance, models like the 997 or 998 are settled in the same retail price category or even higher than hype releases like Yeezys or Ultra Boosts. So these shoes are less likely to reach the second market. Also, innovation should not be underestimated in this discussion. Innovation from Nike and especially adidas was really big and created a lot of hype, so this automatically affected smaller brands. Marketing budget is also a factor, Nike and adidas just have way more money to spent. And last but not least, smaller brands do not have such a big range of silhouettes – regarding the lifestyle section – compared to the big players.
The biggest or most spectacular shift in 2017 would be Air Max once again gaining ground and NMD declining – do you think that this is part of a larger shift towards Nike in the long run?
We think it always depends on the releases from year to year, so you can’t clearly state which brand will dominate in the future. With the Boost theme (Yeezy and NMD / Ultra Boost iterations) in late 2015 and throughout 2016, adidas was clearly on top. In 2017 Nike was competing heavily against the Boost hype, especially with the OFFWHITE collaboration and the return of classic silhouettes like the AM1 and AM97. Also with some clever collaboration partners like Undefeated or Skepta. For the first quar-ter of 2018 it seems a bit like Nike is taking over again. Especially the strong amount of Jordan releases in January and February and bringing back older silhouettes (AM98, AM180, AM93). But this is just our current impression, because adidas is also preparing to put some heavy releases on the market. Yeezys are shifting into another direction with the Yeezy Wave Runner 700 and the Yeezy Desert Rat 500. And of course new Yeezy 350 V2 colorways are in the pipeline as well. And let’s not forget Kanye applied for the “Red October” trademark, which means there could also be big things ahead of us from Adidas. So the race for 2018 is still open for both brands. And both do it very well at the moment, which is pretty good for the secondary market.
NMD sales went down by more than 50% in 2017. Is there any scenario in which NMDs could again become relevant for the second market or is it dead?
Speaking from the second market’s point view, the only NMDs which are sold at the moment are the Pharrell NMDs and from here and there some NMD R1 OGs. All the other NMD models are pretty much dead right now. Demand for NMDs is over-saturated and somehow this silhouettes needs some time of resting in the archives before it could be released again. Maybe like Nike is doing it now with the Flyknit Racer. And already did it successfully with the Flyknit Trainer or the Footscape Woven.
Both the Yeezy and Air Max lines saw big increases on K’LEKT in 2017. Where do you think are the trends for both of these heading to in 2018?
When it comes to adidas, the trend for 2018 is clearly: Kanye and adidas are taking the Yeezy brand into new creative directions. It started with the simple and clean Calabasas Powerphase and will continue with bulkier shoes – which are exactly hitting the pulse of time. With the Air Max line Nike is heading to another direction. They did a great job with releasing all those Air Max OG silhouettes again and still keep on bringing out dope collaborations or popular re-releases. So the trend for Nike besides releasing new Air Max silhouettes is clearly bringing out OG models with a good shape – they really worked on this topic – and also adding some new colorways or teaming up with strong collabo partners.
The Jordan hype hasn’t been as big as it was a couple of years ago, but there hasn’t been a huge decline in sales on K’LEKT from 2016 to 2017. Can you explain that?
You are right, numbers were pretty stable over the last two years, because Jordan brand still has a big fan base. We saw that still a lot of older releases from before 2016 and 2017 have been sold on our platform, so this also affected the numbers of sales. Since bulkier shoes hit the pulse of time these days, Jordan brand started strong this year. They’ve already brought out some great stuff and right now it appears that 2018 could be a successful year for Jordan brand. So we expect an increase of sales in the second market, comparing to the two years before.
So we’ve looked at all these numbers here, but what’s your view on the secondary market. What has changed since you started?
We started in 2013 as a place for the core sneaker community. Back then it was all about making bargains, trading with friends and exchanging knowledge about the culture. The word “hype” on the secondary market wasn’t that relevant. “Hype” was generated by collaborations with stores, like the Patta “Cherrywood” Air Max 1 or the Solebox New Balance 1500 “Toothpaste”. As time passed by, the general demand for limited sneakers exploded. More and more people were triggered by the “sneaker trend” and wanted to buy specific out-of-stock items. Our numbers ref lect this trend: a steep decline of certain brands, models and used items in general. Because the current trend has a higher price point and items are mostly sold as brand new, the need for safe transactions with 100% authenticity has increased. We always think about our platform as a mirror of the scene, this is why we reacted to these requirements with our new authentication service.
So how exactly does the new Presented by KLEKT service work?
First of all, by merging with London-based brand presented by KLEKT, changing the platform and moving on with our new concept, we decided to officially continue our journey as Presentedby. We decided to close the traditional marketplace and created a new and improved online buying and selling platform, where we act like a middleman. Every item that arrives is personally inspected by our professional authenticators. So we make sure buyers will always get authentic items that are in brand new condition and sellers can easily list their items with 100% security against fraudulent buyers. Of course we know that some people are mad because of closing our traditional marketplace. They still want to buy and sell used items. It is also a plan of us to maybe enable this feature sometime in the future and offer our authentication service for used items as well.
This story first appeared in SNEAKERS MAG #38 – Released in April 2018