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The Custom Shoes Market is worth $92M/yr! Part 1 of our Custom Shoes Market study.

In order to learn more about the custom shoes market, Just1 Shoes conducted an Etsy study and a survey of 814 people.  The purpose of the Etsy study was to estimate how much business they do annually for custom shoes and who are selling/ buying shoes on Etsy.   The purpose of the survey was to get insight into the custom shoes market, target demographic, and customers’ willingness to pay for DIY custom shoes kits.  We will break this analysis up into multiple parts.

This series of articles will attempt to answer the questions:

  • What is the size of the custom shoes market?
  • How much revenue does Etsy make on custom shoes annually?
  • What is the best way to sell custom shoes?
  • What % of people have bought custom shoes?
  • Do more men or women buy custom shoes?
  • From which websites or companies do people buy custom shoes?
  • Which websites do custom shoes customers browse to find products?
  • What % of people have actually made custom shoes?

What is the size of the custom shoes market?

TL:DR $91.8M annually, $14M to shoe customizers

With the limited resources of a 1 person company, the most feasible way to get data was to go to the largest existing marketplace for custom shoes: Etsy.  We viewed every single shoe listed and wrote down every seller’s name and their info (sales, reviews, favorited).  Adding up all sales from all unique sellers we get 309,425 transactions have been completed by active Etsy custom shoes sellers.  To get to the size of the market, we have to make a dollar per transaction amount assumption.  Let’s assume on average a custom shoe spend is $120.  That means $37M has been spent on Etsy during its lifetime.  Etsy was created in 2012 and the study was done in 2017 so that’s an average of $7.4M per year.  But, we can do yearly estimates based on revenue growth and assuming custom shoes is a constant percentage of revenue (2.5%) to get 2017 custom shoes revenue on Etsy of $11.1M. 

So, now we have this Etsy data but how do we extrapolate it to the entire market?  Our survey asked purchasers where they bought from and 12.1% said Etsy, so we can divide to get $91.8M total market size.

Before customizers get too excited, keep in mind this includes big companies who are getting most of the money: Nike ID (52.7%), Adidas Miadidas (28.8%), Custom Converse (21.7%), Vans custom shoes (20.1%), Reebok custom shoes (16.7%), and New Balance (12.1%).  The money that’s going to customizers is from the Etsy (12.1%) and Custom shoes artists (3.1%) options, which adds up to $14M.

An Imperfect Study

We would be remiss if we didn't mention the imperfections in our one-man, low-budget study.  First, the $120 per shoe cost is a major assumption that will vary the resulting numbers significantly when changed.  Also, we totaled up ALL sales from shoe sellers, when they might also sell other things on Etsy.  From browsing the sellers, we'd estimate 5% or so go to non-shoe products, but this is not accounted for in our above analysis.  Sellers with deleted accounts are not considered because we have no way of pulling that data.  There is no way to estimate attrition, so rather than mess with the numbers we will just say our value is conservative (given our other assumptions are close to correct).  Of course, there is also polling members' bias. Since this survey was performed online, we can assume the audience is more tech savvy and probably younger than the general population.  Our demographics data backs this up (33% ages 22-29 and 27.9% ages 30-35).

Thoughts our questions?  Please leave a comment below!


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