Footwear Market in UK to grow by 13.7% until 2021

UK footwear market continues to grow at a faster rate than clothing. It has seen a constant growth favoured by continuing popularity of the athleisure sector, an increase in sports participation, as well as a growing acceptance of casual styles for all circumstances.

  • Definition / Scope
  • Market Overview
  • Market Risks
  • Top Market Opportunities
  • Market Trends
  • Industry Challenges
  • Technology Trends
  • Pricing Trends
  • Regulatory Trends
  • Other Key Market Trends
  • Market Size and Forecast
  • Market Outlook
  • Technology Roadmap
  • Distribution Chain Analysis
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Competitive Factors
  • Key Market Players
  • Strategic Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendix

Definition / Scope

Garments that are worn on the feet that serve to protect against adversity of the environment usually with regards to ground textures and the temperature is commonly referred as footwear. Primarily, footwear serves to ease the movement and prevent from injuries.

Also, it is used as a medium for fashion and adornment . Footwear also reflects the status/ rank of the person within a social structure. Not only have these, footwear also had cultural significances as well.

The importance of footwear is highly realised in western and other countries, so the footwear industry developed in full motion that originated companies like Nike, Adidas, Puma, and Reebok etc.

In the UK, the footwear Industry is a mature industry that comprises all kinds of shoes forming three key sectors: women’s footwear, men’s footwear, and children’s footwear.

Footwear form the second important fashion segment after apparels. Many small and middle-sized brands, even private brands are available in the stores that are greatly shaped by changing the trend of buying habits of the customers .

Market Overview

The UK footwear market is forecast to grow by 13.7% over the next five years and will be driven by higher retail prices with inflation staying above 1.0% until 2021. As consequence volumes will remain muted as shoppers opt to delay purchases-except for those on essential children’s footwear .

Revenue in the Footwear market amounts to US$ 15,903 million in 2018. The market is expected to grow annually by 3.6% (CAGR 2018-2021). The market’s largest segment is the segment Leather Footwear with a market volume of US$ 7,919 million in 2018.

The market for Leather Footwear comprises town footwear, boots, sandals and clogs with leather uppers for women, men and children. It is the segment with the highest sales in Western Europe. With regard to growth, however, it is not as strong as the athletic footwear or sneakers market.

Women’s footwear is consistently the largest sector, driven by the female preoccupation with fashion trends and designer brands. However, changes in male fashion- illustrated by the launch of the industry’s first dedicated male fashion week London Collections: Men in 2012 – have triggered considerable growth in this sector, with men investing in fashion-focused footwear and new emerging styles catering to this growing demand.

The most important brand manufacturers are Clarks, Geox, and Ecco. In addition, there are numerous small and middle-sized brands as well as private brands of shoe chain stores. The upswing in e-commerce and store concepts created by major sportswear manufacturers is putting a lot of pressure on stationary retail stores .

Market Risks

Counterfeiting has become a risk in the market for competitors today due to its nature of pervasive, and global in nature; it changes the rules of functioning of the competitive market, damaging business operating legally and poses dangers for consumer safety and health.

It also damages the economic system as a whole since the fraudulent imitation of a product can also cause derailing of trade and unfair competition, and inflicts serious damage on research development and innovation capacity.

Counterfeiting deprives the community of jobs and the state of tax revenue. Of particular significance and undergoing a commercial boom, are the counterfeits sold over the internet .

Top Market Opportunities

The Market opportunities that companies can tap into are:

  • Highly brand conscious youth wanting to own a pair of branded shoes only.
  • High value placed on fitness & sports for a healthy lifestyle, resulting in an increase in the overall industry.
  • Use of internet, online marketing and e-commerce widening geographical markets and connecting the globe virtually.
  • Advanced technology available: The increasing interest in high-quality British footwear has contributed to industry expansion as firms have aimed to capitalise on heritage brands and increased their presence abroad .

The new movement in the fashion industry is the “Athleisure” that employed the use of textile material to ensure versatility, comfortability and demonstrate the fashionable look to its user. This has a significant impact on sportswear.

These products create an opportunity to offer personalized products, for which consumers are continuously on the lookout. With regard to sports shoes, popular ones include football boots, athletic spikes or ski boots. In 2017, Adidas alone was estimated to be used by 9.3 million people in the UK and 5.19 million Nike products .

Market Trends

The footwear industry is flourishing in the UK. The market drivers for the market include:

  • Fashion trend among men: Men’s interest in their physical appearance and the changing fashion trends has led to purchase the footwear that’s on demand. It is estimated that this willing to buy footwear can led to maximum gains in footwear sector for men by 2021.
  • Capitalizing consumer’s interest: The retailers can make most out of consumers diverse interest in fitness, sports etc. providing the want driven purchase for consumers incorporating new fashion style with wider range of choices and availability of products.
  • Rising interest for sporty shoe: With a trend for inspiration towards sports and performance enriches, Sports footwear is particularly expected to record strong growth over the forecasted period despite uncertainty around the macro economy. Ski and snowboard boots may also aid in the overall scope of the athletic footwear market serving as market drivers in footwear industry .
  • Targeting health problems:For ageing population, the demand for footwear to address the foot problems and claiming a wide fit shoe for high obese individual and finding a comfortable fit is on wish list of consumers and enabling a retailer to address it .

Manufacturers and companies may face several obstacles to capitalize on this market’s potential, for a number of reasons. The increase in e-commerce and store concepts among sportswear manufacturer have put up a pressure in stationary retail stores for in UK.

Likewise, clothes shop has offered a cheap price to resist the challenging consumer environment and this has stole away shares in Footwear market for specialists .

The traditional process of shoe production involves designing, patterning, finishing, bottoming, lasting, cutting and upper making. While technology and assistance in the form of computer-aided design systems, sewing and cutting machines exist, there is a large manual labour requirement due to the intricate nature of the work .

Industry Challenges

Trend of spending money has shifted from shopping to spending on experiences as holidays. Also, consumers prioritising spending on home as paying down mortgages, home improvements etc.

This is likely to put pressure on clothing, footwear and accessories market in UK. A number of US and European retailers are beginning to enter UK Market (e.g. Tory Burch, Kate Spade etc), this has also poses a challenge to the UK footwear Industry .

The challenges are also are seen with developed countries like US where the market volume reached US$83,782m in 2018 and in turn test the UK market .

Footwear specialists and fashion stores are facing increased competition from sports and online-only retailers. Footwear specialists such as Jones Bootmaker, Brantano and Shuropody, have all faced CVAs or gone into administration over the past year, while fashion retailers popular for footwear such as New Look are facing tough times.

Sports specialist retailers are however growing their market share. Shoppers still prefer to purchase branded trainers over own-brand ones from fashion retailers. Additionally, sports specialist brands such as Nike and Adidas have been increasing their direct-to-consumer sales and cutting back on the wholesale side of the business .

Technology Trends

Innovations and technological advancement has paved a way to UK Footwear Market. The technological upsurge brings about comfort, enhanced performances, better support on ground etc.

The technological advancement has aided UK footwear market as online strategies (internet) have enabled the consumer to choose their products of interest and check the availability of model and buy them. The scheme of free delivery and provision of returning is gaining popularity over physical stores .

Geox has introduced the perforated technology that claim to get rid from sweaty smelly feet and enable shoe to breathe making a landmark achievement for the brand .

Pricing Trends

With regards to the pricing trend in Footwear industry, the average price per unit was accounted to be US$ 47.19 in 2018.  

The value sale was however, seen to be increased by 6.2% the previous year in 2016 to reach US $13.73 . While, US$239.65 was the average revenue per Capita (2018) for footwear market in UK .

Regulatory Trends

Industry growth has been facilitated by an array of government policies targeting innovation within the broader textiles manufacturing industry.

The strict guidelines and rules have been enforced by government of UK to invade the occupational hazards and ensure the safety industrial protective footwear for the workers acting as a market driver to footwear market. The key regulations comply with and benefit from tariffs and duties and meet the quality requirements for footwear .

Other Key Market Trends

Revenue in the Footwear market amounts to US$15,903m in 2018. The average revenue per person in the market for Footwear amounts to US$239.65 in 2018 whereas the average volume per person in the market for Footwear accounted to 5 pairs in 2018 .

Despite the overall positive outlook, profit margins within the industry are expected to shrink over the five years through 2018-19, from 19.1% during 2013-14 to 11.2% in the current year due to rising input costs as a result of recovering oil prices and a weak pound negatively affecting profit .

Market Size and Forecast

Revenue in the Footwear market amounts to US$15,903m in 2018. The market is expected to grow annually by 3.6% (CAGR 2018-2021) and is expected to reach US$ 17.68 billion by 2021. The market’s largest segment is the segment Leather Footwear with a market volume of US$7,919m in 2018.

Revenue in the Leather Footwear segment amounts to US$7,919m in 2018. The market is expected to grow annually by 2.3% (CAGR 2018-2021). In relation to total population figures, per person revenues of US$239.65 are generated in 2018.

Revenue in the Sandals, Textile & Other Footwear segment amounts to US$5,219m in 2018. The market is expected to grow annually by 4.1% (CAGR 2018-2021). Likewise, revenue in the Athletic Footwear segment amounts to US$2,764m in 2018. The market is expected to grow annually by 6.6% (CAGR 2018-2021) .

In 2017, the female section outnumbered the market with 5.22 bn USD in 2017. The situation is expected to alter by 2022, where men’s footwear subsector is anticipated to speed up by 15.0% with the growing interest of men into fashion and styles and the investors’ concern towards a shift of demand to trend-led product ranges . As considered for child market, between 2007-16, market surged by 2% and is further expected to increase by 4.4% until 2021 .

Market Outlook

The UK footwear market is forecast to grow by 13.7% over the next five years and will be driven by higher retail prices with inflation staying above 1.0% until 2021. As a consequence volume will remain muted as shoppers opt to delay purchases-except for those on essential children’s footwear . In the market for Footwear, the volume is expected to amount to 351m. prs. by 2021. In the Footwear market, 48% of total revenue will be generated through online sales by 2021 .

Women’s footwear subsector remains the largest, forecast at US$5.32 billion in 2017; however, the men’s footwear subsector will be the fastest growing out to 2022, with spending rising by 15.0%. Growth in men’s footwear will be driven by males’ greater interest in fashion and style, and more investment from retailers to satisfy the shift in demand for more trend-led product ranges .

There is a grey area between sports shoes and casual footwear, although sports trainers are classified in the Government’s consumer spending data under the footwear rather than the sportswear category. The latter, in terms of sports shoes, is largely confined to specialist performance shoes.

By Revenue in the Leather Footwear segment amounts to US$7,919m in 2018. Revenue in the Footwear market amounts to US$15,903m in 2018. Revenue in the Athletic Footwear segment amounts to US$19,218m in 2018. Revenue in the Sandals, Textile & Other Footwear segment amounts to US$36,219m in 2018 .

Technology Roadmap

Growing competition among global players is paving the way for the development of innovative footwear with a focus on improving user-experience. Individuals purchasing athletic footwear seek cost-effective and high-quality products that can improve their running and playing skills.

Consequently, leading players are launching products with advanced technologies, which can improve the overall experience of their consumers. The latest technology that is gaining popularity is the use of polyurethane capsules in the manufacture of athletic footwear.

These capsules provide the runner with a buoyancy, allowing runners to expend less energy. The Adidas Energy Boost 2.0 is one such running shoe that is manufactured using polyurethane capsules .

Distribution Chain Analysis

The distribution chain of UK footwear includes purchasing goods from domestic and foreign manufacturers by wholesalers and distributing them to downstream retailers and department stores.

The rise in online shopping and the increasing prevalence of wholesale bypass has negatively affected the industry over the past five years . Companies are indulging in expansion to more and more cities as well as expanding across the value chain.

Competitive Landscape

The competition in this industry is mostly non-price atleast for the established legendary players like Nike and Adidas. They compete for mind share of the customer and aspects like marketing campaigns, brand ambassadors, product proliferation and branding, spell success.

Brand Stickiness is high once a customer has experienced a brand and has been satisfied, indicating that price stickiness is less which is also due to affluent lifestyles, prosperity and rising purchasing power of the customer today  In 2017, Nike remains the leading footwear, registering steady growth in its value share.

Also, it is driven by high demand for running shoes and basketball shoes, most notably the Jordan Brand. Clarks brand has the second spot.

Significant value share increases in 2017 were recorded in companies like Adidas and Sketchers. For instance, Adidas’ collaborations with Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, or Raf Simons are highly-visible on social media and represent a vital communication strategy.

Also, Next and Marks & Spencer lost value share during 2017, while fast-fashion retailers Primark, Zara, and H&M, as well as online retailers Asos, Missguided, and fared much better .

Competitive Factors

Over the past decade, the industry has tackled with competition from external vendors, such as clothing retailers and department stores. Major supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda have expanded their footwear ranges, pricing them to rival specialist retailers.

This has increased and intensified the competition. The demand was negatively affected as consumers took advantage of knock-down prices and the convenience afforded by supermarkets. 

Companies are also competing on coming up with new strategies to satisfy customers. For example, one of such strategies could be giving buy back option to customers on ornament within certain days after the purchase and based on certain terms and conditions.

Companies have also started selling customised ornament for customers who prefer to have their ornament altered as per their own preference .

Key Market Players

Some of the major players in the UK footwear market are Clarks, Sports Direct, JD Sports, Marks & Spencer, Primark, Next, Kurt Geiger, Office, Schuh, New Look, Asda, Amazon, River Island, Sainsbury’s, ASOS, Dune, TK Maxx, Shoe Zone.etc. A brief profile of key market players is listed below: 

  • Clarks: C. & J. Clark International Ltd, trading as Clarks, is a British-based, international shoe manufacturer and retailer company. The company was founded in 1825 by brothers Cyrus and James Clark in Street, Somerset, England. It has over 1,000 branded stores and franchises around the world and also sells through third-party distribution .
  • Sports Direct: Sports Direct International plc is a British retailing group which was established in 1982 by Mike Ashley. The company owns a large number of sporting brands and it trades largely under the brand. It is the United Kingdom’s largest sports-goods retailer company with its operations in almost 670 stores worldwide .
  • JD Sports: JD Sports Fashion plc is a sports-fashion retail company based in Bury, Greater Manchester, England. It constitutes shops throughout the UK. The company is a subsidiary of the Petland Group. In the year, 2017 the company witnessed a 30% rise in sales and its 50% rise in pre-tax profits .
  • Marks & Spencer: It is a major British multinational retailer based in the City of Westminster, London. M&S currently has 979 stores across the U.K. specializing in the selling of clothing, home products and luxury food products. The company has been listed on the London Stock Exchange. It was established in 1884 .
  • Primark: Primark is an Irish fast fashion retailer headquartered in Dublin, and a subsidiary of Associated British Foods. As of 2018, it has 368 stores worldwide offering a diverse range of products, accessories, beauty products, women’s wear, men’s wear, home ware, confectionery and footwear .
  • Next: Next is a British multinational clothing, footwear and home products retailer. It has it’s headquarter in Enderby, Leicestershire. It has around 700 stores, of which 519 are in the United Kingdom making it the largest retailer by sales in the United Kingdom, and over 200 across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The company has overtaken Marks & Spencer in early 2012 and 2014 .
  • Kurt Geiger: Kurt Geiger is a London based company named after its Austrian founder, who opened its first shop in London’s fashion capital on Bond Street in 1963. Kurt Geiger has over 70 stores, and over 170 concessions within department stores .
  • Office: Office Holdings also owns Offspring, which is a leading fashion retailer of sneakers in the UK. It is owned by Truworths, a South African company. The revenue at Truworth UK Holdco 1 increased by 75% in 2017 .
  • Schuh: Schuh is a footwear retailer from the UK based in Livingston, West Lothian. It has 118 stores in the UK and Ireland. The company sells over 80 shoe brands, including: Nike, Vans, Converse, UGG, Adidas as well as its own schuh label. The company had remained the winner of Scottish Fashion Awards 2013, Gold Award in Flagship and Store category 2013, Drapers Footwear Awards: Multiple Footwear Retailer of the Year 2013 along with several others .
  • New Look: New Look is a British global fashion retailer founded in 1969. It has a chain of high street shops and has been owned since May 2015 by investment company Brait SA. The chain sells women’s wear, men’s wear, and clothing for teens. As per 2014, the company has been serving in approximately 1,160 locations .

Strategic Conclusion

The UK footwear manufacturing industry is thriving and some leading brands are extremely popular. Facilitated by an array of innovation-targeted government policies, the industry is fostering and is likely to continue to be on the rise.

Women’s footwear is the largest sub sector and Nike is the leading footwear. Also, purchasing footwear online is getting increasingly popular. UK footwear market is forecast to grow by 13.7% over the next five years to reach US Dollar 12.34 billion in 2022.





  • CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate
  • US$: US Dollar

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