Just for Kicks: Superkicks Leading the Evolution of Sneaker Culture in India
Sneakers, Kicks, Trainers, Slip-ons, call it whatever but there is definitely no stopping the category now. Once a symbol of athleticism, sneakers have today transformed to become a primary accessory that adds to the overall look of today’s millennials who like to dress in style and have a distinct personality. From sportswear and street style to catwalk fashion, sneakers have made their mark as cultural commodities. India is, in fact, the second-largest footwear market after China and in that, sneakers and running shoes have been performing impressively well, especially during the lockdown months in 2020.
The market is thriving on the back of some of the hottest products and collaborations for which millennials and Gen Z are always ready to shell out big bucks. While the trend and hype started in the west, India too is catching up now with consumers eagerly waiting for exclusive collections, collaborative editions, and drops from brands.
While Yeezy’s first drop in India saw only about six people in the queue, times have changed for the better, and interest and demand have spiked. Sneakerheads queued for hours in January outside Olive, a New Delhi restaurant, to shop a Reebok x Pyer Moss pop-up, which sold out soon after. Similarly, adidas’s recent high-end drop this month in India, the A + P Luna Rossa 21 trainers created in collaboration with Prada, sold out on the day of its launch and the brand had maintained that key collaborations with global creators have been a big rage in India with most drops selling within minutes or hours.
According to Statista, the total global sneakers market revenue was valued at approximately US$ 70 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach a value of US$ 102 billion by 2025. Furthermore, for the Indian market, the revenue in the sneakers segment amounts to US$ 1,367 million in 2021 which is expected to grow annually at a CAGR of 24.7 percent.
One such premium multi-brand sneaker destination is Superkicks that caters to the demands of sneaker enthusiasts across the country with its range of super cool sneakers from major brands, available in India. Founded in 2018 by sneaker enthusiast Sangeet Paryani, Superkicks now has a strong presence pan India with three retail outlets in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru and a dedicated e-commerce website.
Sangeet Paryani noticed a huge gap in the Indian sneaker market as there was limited availability of global sneaker drops and he launched the brand dedicated to bringing limited edition, heritage styles as well as more contemporary silhouettes to India’s burgeoning streetwear and sneaker culture.
Sangeet Paryani, Founder, Superkicks, asserts, “The sneaker culture in India is growing the fastest as compared to any other category even in the footwear industry simply because now people are looking at ways to express themselves and they want to find different ways to do that. Also, the influence of Instagram and the global culture is seeping in now more than ever. People are getting to know about different sneakers and the context/ story behind them and one can expect this to be growing exponentially in the coming years. Even as the sneaker community is still small in India, it has grown tremendously over the past 3 years. From having no-sneaker stores, to multi retail sneaker boutique powerhouses, sneaker resale stores, sneaker after products, sneaker care services, and more, we can indeed say the sneaker culture has grown. We are now seeing the emergence of smaller sneaker festivals in India. More international brands are entering the market and bringing in new variants, collabs, and models. We are seeing a rise in the sneaker aftermarket with brands coming out with their own custom laces, socks, the introduction of international sneaker cleaning products - Sneaker Lab, Reshoevn8r, Jason Markk, as well as giving rise to homegrown brands.”
Stepping Up and How
While this segment is continuously growing on the back of an increase in demand from the new age customer base from across the country, the pandemic did have its impact on the overall segment as also Superkicks. However, the brand came out stronger and strategized to stay afloat during the crisis.
“We saw a surge in online orders as soon as the first lockdown ended, however, in-store sales were still affected. Since then, things have been steady and growing for us. Our strategy to navigate through this situation revolved around focusing on online sales because we didn't want to encourage people to step out of their houses during these tough times, so we continued building our online presence. In January 2021, we also revamped our entire website and made it smoother and better from a UI/UX point of view. We tried to curate interesting and eye-catching creatives to lure people to our online store, and we were able to do that with a better website and a better marketing strategy for our Instagram page. We plan to continue to focus on online sales and our e-commerce platform and make it much more robust. Improve the entire experience bit by bit and make it better with every month. Also, now that things have opened up, we also want to focus on getting people to the store, keeping in mind all the guidelines and safety measures shared by the authorities, and reactivate store sales as well, as we are known for our store activations, events, and engagements that we have done in the past,” explains Sangeet Paryani.