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UK Footwear Retailing market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Footwear Retailing market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Products covered in this Report

The Report looks at purchases of shoes for adults and children through all retail channels – both specialist and non-specialist (eg clothing stores, department stores, sports shops, supermarkets, internet pureplayers, catalogue retailers, markets, garden centres etc).

This Report covers the following footwear categories:

  • Women's
  • Men's
  • Children's

Excluded:

  • Slippers
  • Specialist performance shoes (eg football boots, ballet shoes)

We use ONS (Office for National Statistics) consumer spending on footwear data in this Report, which represents purchases of shoes through all retail channels – both specialist and nonspecialist (eg clothing stores, department stores, sports shops, supermarkets, internet pureplayers, catalogue retailers, markets, garden centres etc).

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 such as football boots, athletic spikes or ski boots.

Channels to Market

  • Footwear specialists
  • Clothing specialists
  • Sports goods retailers
  • Department stores
  • Online-only retailers
  • Grocers
  • Others

What you need to know

The footwear market in the UK grew 8% in 2017 and is estimated to reach sales of £12.4 billion in 2018, as the footwear market continues to grow at a faster rate than clothing. The sector has benefited from the continuing popularity of the athleisure sector, an increase in sports participation, as well as a growing acceptance of casual styles for all circumstances.

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.

Men’s footwear is growing at a faster rate than women’s, while children’s remains stagnant. This is driven by the younger male market, as only 5% of men aged 16-24 have not purchased footwear over a 12-month period compared to 10% of women in the same age group. Men’s footwear has particularly benefitted from the popularity of casual footwear; 43% of men purchased trainers and a third (33%) purchased casual shoes in the last year.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Chana Baram, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The footwear market is continuing to grow, but this growth is predicted to slow down over the next few years as the implementation of Brexit will undoubtedly create more uncertainty. Once again we see that men’s footwear is driving growth in the sector as the popularity of trainers is yet to wane. As a result, fashion and footwear specialist retailers have been in decline while sports retailers have been growing at a steady pace. Chana Baram
Retail Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Footwear grows 8% in 2017
              • Figure 1: UK footwear sales, best- and worst-case forecast, 2013-23
            • Men’s footwear outperforming
              • Figure 2: UK footwear sales, segmented by women’s, men’s and children’s, % share, 2015-17
            • Footwear and clothing specialists market share reduced
              • Figure 3: Estimated distribution of spending on footwear, by type of retailer, 2015-17
            • Unpredictable weather affects footwear sales
              • Figure 4: UK monthly mean temperature, year-on-year difference, January 2017-May 2018
            • Companies and brands
              • Sport-focused retailers continue to grow
                • JD Sports number one for footwear
                  • Figure 5: Estimated market shares for top 10 retailers of footwear, by value, 2017
                • Clarks comes highly recommended
                  • Figure 6: Key metrics for selected brands, April 2018
                • The consumer
                  • Casual styles popular for all
                    • Figure 7: Styles of women’s footwear purchased, May 2018
                  • Amazon most popular pureplay retailer
                    • Figure 8: Retailers footwear has been purchased from, by channel, May 2018
                  • Wide range of sizes is important
                    • Figure 9: Top factors in deciding where to purchase footwear, May 2018
                  • Comfort important aspect when choosing footwear
                    • Figure 10: Top factors when deciding what footwear to purchase, May 2018
                  • Three quarters prefer to try shoes on in-store before buying
                    • Figure 11: Footwear shopper behaviour, May 2018
                  • What we think
                  • Issues and Insights

                    • What part does seasonality play in footwear sales?
                      • The facts
                        • The implications
                          • Men’s footwear fuelling growth in the market
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Growing demand for larger range of sizing
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Figure 12: ASOS wide fit shoes, 2018
                                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                    • Footwear grows 8% in 2017
                                      • Footwear sales predicted to rise 26% by 2023
                                        • Men’s footwear outperforming
                                          • Sports good retailers increase share
                                            • Unpredictable weather affects footwear sales
                                              • People spending less on fashion items
                                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                                • Footwear shows strong growth of 8% in 2017
                                                  • Figure 13: UK footwear sales, best- and worst-case forecast, 2013-23
                                                • Footwear forecast to grow 26% by 2023
                                                  • Figure 14: UK footwear sales, at current and 2018 prices, 2013-23
                                                • Men’s footwear making gains
                                                  • Figure 15: UK footwear sales, segmented by market value and percentage share, 2015-17
                                                  • Figure 16: UK footwear sales, segmented by women’s, men’s and children’s, % share, 2015-17
                                                • Forecast methodology
                                                • Channels to Market

                                                  • Footwear and clothing specialists reduce market share
                                                    • Figure 17: Estimated distribution of spending on footwear, by type of retailer, 2015-17
                                                    • Figure 18: Estimated distribution of spending on footwear, by type of retailer, 2015-17
                                                • Market Drivers

                                                  • Increased acceptance of casual dressing
                                                    • Figure 19: Items bought for sports use or casualwear, September 2017
                                                  • Unpredictable weather
                                                    • Figure 20: UK monthly mean temperature, year-on-year difference, January 2017-May 2018
                                                  • Disposable income higher than ever …
                                                    • Figure 21: Median UK disposable household income, 1977-2016 (2016 prices)
                                                  • … But housing costs surge
                                                    • Figure 22: Median monthly private sector rent as a percentage of median gross monthly salary, by region, England and Wales, 2016
                                                  • People spending less on fashion items
                                                    • Figure 23: Items respondents have purchased for themselves, percentage point change between March 2017-April 2018
                                                  • Impact of Brexit
                                                    • Figure 24: Sterling to US Dollar exchange rate chart, by month, 2013-18
                                                  • Demographic changes
                                                    • Figure 25: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2012-22
                                                • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                  • JD Sports has tripled its operating profit since 2015
                                                    • Footwear sales from fashion-driven retailers slow
                                                      • Online growth slows
                                                        • Brantano closes its retail stores
                                                          • Top 10 retailers lose market share
                                                            • Advertising spend increases in 2017
                                                            • Leading Specialists

                                                              • Clarks
                                                                • Footwear sales from fashion-forward retailers slow
                                                                  • Jones Bootmaker changes ownership for the second time in one year
                                                                    • Figure 26: Leading footwear specialists: UK Revenues, 2013-17
                                                                  • Sport focused retailers expand
                                                                    • Shoe Zone takes advantage of closures
                                                                      • Figure 27: Leading footwear specialists: UK outlet numbers, 2013-17
                                                                    • Sales per outlet
                                                                      • Figure 28: Leading footwear specialists: estimated UK sales per outlet, 2013-17
                                                                    • Operating profit and margins
                                                                      • Figure 29: Leading footwear specialists: UK operating profits, 2013-17
                                                                  • Leading Non-specialist Retailers

                                                                    • Sports Direct continues spending spree
                                                                      • M&S face facts
                                                                        • JD has tripled its operating profit since 2015
                                                                          • New Looks sales continue to fall
                                                                            • Figure 30: Leading non-specialist retailers: estimated footwear sales (excluding VAT), 2012-17
                                                                            • Figure 31: In-store vs Online May 2018
                                                                            • Figure 8: Leading non-specialist retailers: Positioning, offer and brands stocked, 2017
                                                                        • Market Share

                                                                          • JD Sports number one for footwear
                                                                            • Figure 32: Estimated market shares for top 10 retailers of footwear, by value, 2017
                                                                            • Figure 33: Estimated market shares for top 20 retailers of footwear, 2013-17
                                                                        • Online

                                                                          • Online forecast to account for almost £2.75 billion of footwear sales
                                                                            • Figure 34: Estimated online sales of footwear 2014-18
                                                                          • Distribution
                                                                            • Growth in confidence in online spending
                                                                              • Figure 35: Estimated distribution of online sales, 2015-17
                                                                            • Leading players
                                                                              • Figure 36: Leading online footwear retailers: estimated online sales and online market shares, 2015-17
                                                                            • Consumer research
                                                                              • Figure 37: Online retailers from where consumers have bought footwear for themselves in the last 12 months, May 2018
                                                                          • Space Allocation Summary

                                                                              • Specialists’ space allocation summary
                                                                                • Figure 38: Specialist footwear retailers’ space allocation estimates, June 2018
                                                                              • Specialists detailed space allocation estimates
                                                                                  • Figure 39: Specialist footwear retailers’ detailed space allocation estimates, June 2018
                                                                                • Non-specialists space allocation overview
                                                                                  • Figure 40: Non-specialist retailers’ footwear space allocation estimates, June 2018
                                                                                • Non-specialists detailed space allocation estimates
                                                                                  • Figure 41: Non-specialist footwear retailers’ detailed space allocation estimates, June 2018
                                                                                • Non-specialists footwear departments
                                                                                  • Figure 42: Estimated in-store footwear as percentage of total selling space in non-specialist footwear retailers, June 2018
                                                                              • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                • Sustainable footwear
                                                                                  • Ethical and environmentally friendly material
                                                                                    • Vegan footwear
                                                                                      • Figure 43: Hugo Boss Piñatex trainers, 2018
                                                                                    • Bubble gum shoes
                                                                                      • Figure 44: gumshoe made from recycled chewing gum
                                                                                    • Nike uses 3D printing to create the lightest possible trainer
                                                                                      • Athleisure: trend to permanent fixture
                                                                                        • Footwear collaborations
                                                                                          • Gucci DIY x Mytheresa.com
                                                                                            • Figure 45: Gucci DIY x Mytheresa.com, 2017
                                                                                          • Alife x Crocs
                                                                                            • Figure 46: Alife x Crocs collaboration, 2018
                                                                                          • Off-White x everyone
                                                                                            • Rick Owens x Birkenstock
                                                                                              • Disney x asics
                                                                                                • Figure 47: asics Disney collaboration for the launch of the film the Incredibles 2
                                                                                              • Inclusivity
                                                                                                • ‘Nude’ is not a colour
                                                                                                  • Transparency trading
                                                                                                    • It’s all about kitten heels
                                                                                                      • Lower heels are outselling high heels in sales
                                                                                                        • Revisiting the archive
                                                                                                          • Ferragamo to reissue shoe designs from the golden age of Hollywood
                                                                                                            • Leading sportswear brands continue to re-release past models
                                                                                                              • Retail theatre and experiential shopping
                                                                                                                • In-store technology
                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Image of Browns East October 2017
                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: Farfetch store of the future, 2018
                                                                                                                • Nike Reactland
                                                                                                                  • Figure 4: Nike’s in-store retail video game Reactland
                                                                                                                • Luxury footwear launches
                                                                                                                  • Authenticity and Integrity
                                                                                                                    • Incredibly useful design
                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Adidas EQT Support 93 / Berlin Collaboration January 2018
                                                                                                                    • 2018 to be the biggest year of trainer reselling
                                                                                                                    • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                      • Expenditure up 18.8% in 2017
                                                                                                                        • Figure 1: Total above-the-line online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on footwear 2014-17
                                                                                                                      • Leading players
                                                                                                                        • Figure 51: mahabis Facebook advert, 2018
                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail total advertising expenditure on footwear, by advertiser, 2014 - 2017
                                                                                                                      • Key campaigns
                                                                                                                        • asics - Back to Mindfulness
                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: asics I Move Me campaign, featuring DJ Steve Aoki, 2018
                                                                                                                        • Majority of 2017 advertising budgets spent through TV commercials
                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Total Above-the-line online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on footwear, by media type in 2017
                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Total Above-the-line online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on footwear, by media type in 2017
                                                                                                                        • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                        • Brand Research

                                                                                                                            • Brand map
                                                                                                                              • Figure 56: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, April 2018
                                                                                                                            • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                              • Figure 57: Key metrics for selected brands, April 2018
                                                                                                                            • Brand attitudes: Kurt Geiger consistently shows high quality
                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Attitudes, by brand, April 2018
                                                                                                                            • Brand personality: Skechers benefits from fun, accessible and upbeat image
                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Brand personality – macro image, April 2018
                                                                                                                            • Birkenstock enjoys comfort purchasing trend
                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Brand personality – micro image, April 2018
                                                                                                                            • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                              • Clarks makes efforts to change brand perceptions
                                                                                                                                • Figure 61: User profile of Clarks, April 2018
                                                                                                                              • Birkenstock consumers are happy to pay a little extra for comfort
                                                                                                                                • Figure 62: User profile of Birkenstock, April 2018
                                                                                                                              • Skechers benefits from a high level of brand awareness
                                                                                                                                • Figure 63: User profile of Skechers, April 2018
                                                                                                                              • UGG perceived as being overrated
                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: User profile of UGG, April 2018
                                                                                                                              • Dr. Martens perceived to set trends amongst young demographic
                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: User profile of Dr. Martens, April 2018
                                                                                                                              • Kurt Geiger worth paying more for
                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: User profile of Kurt Geiger, April 2018
                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                              • Casual styles popular across the board
                                                                                                                                • Young men driving footwear sales
                                                                                                                                  • Amazon top performing pureplay retailer
                                                                                                                                    • Sports retailers more appealing to male shoppers
                                                                                                                                      • Wide range of sizes is important
                                                                                                                                        • Iconic footwear proves popular
                                                                                                                                          • Vegan footwear wanted
                                                                                                                                          • Types of Footwear Bought

                                                                                                                                            • Casual styles increasingly popular for women
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 67: Styles of women’s footwear purchased, May 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Flip flops increasingly popular with young age group
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 68: Styles of men’s footwear purchased, May 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 69: Flip flops purchased, by age group, May 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 70: Nike Benassi slide, 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Young men most likely to purchase footwear
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 71: Those who have not bought any footwear for themselves in the last 12 months, by age group, May 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Women more likely to purchase several styles
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 72: Repertoire of styles purchased, by gender, May 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Trainers even more popular for children than school shoes
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 73: Styles of children’s footwear purchased, May 2018
                                                                                                                                            • Those with younger children more likely to purchase several styles
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 74: Repertoire of styles purchased, by age of children in household, May 2018
                                                                                                                                          • Where Footwear is Bought

                                                                                                                                            • Three quarters shopped for footwear in-store
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 75: Channels used for footwear purchasing, by age, May 2018
                                                                                                                                            • People more likely to go in-store when buying from specialists
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 76: Types of retailers footwear was purchased from, by channel, May 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Three retailers come top
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 77: Retailers footwear has been purchased from, by channel, May 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Amazon outperforms other pureplay retailers
                                                                                                                                                • Gender split for sports retailers
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 78: Inside Sports Direct Oxford Street flagship store, 2018
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 79: Percentage shopped for footwear at sports retailers, by gender, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Clarks and Sainsbury’s popular with broad demographics
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 80: Clarks and Sainsbury’s footwear shoppers, by age group, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Online shoppers more loyal
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 81: Repertoire of retailers purchased from, by channel, May 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Deciding Where to Purchase Footwear

                                                                                                                                                • Range of prices is top deciding factor
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 82: Top factors in deciding where to purchase footwear, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Wide range of sizes growing more important
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 83: Importance of wide range of sizes, by age group, May 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Choosing Footwear

                                                                                                                                                • Comfort is the most important aspect when choosing footwear
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 84: Top factors when deciding what footwear to purchase, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Brand most important aspect after comfort, quality, and style
                                                                                                                                                  • Eco-friendly materials low in priority list
                                                                                                                                                  • Behaviour towards Buying Footwear

                                                                                                                                                    • Three quarters will try shoes on in-store
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 85: Footwear shopper behaviour, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                      • Capitalising on the in-store preference
                                                                                                                                                        • Iconic footwear proves popular
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 86: Interest in buying re-released iconic footwear, by age and gender, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 87: Return of Buffalo London, 2018
                                                                                                                                                        • Changing weather a challenge for footwear
                                                                                                                                                          • Veganism making an impact on footwear
                                                                                                                                                            • Parents particularly interested in gender neutral footwear
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 88: Footwear retailing – CHAID – Tree output, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 89: Footwear Retailing– CHAID – Table output, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                            • Methodology
                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                    • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 90: UK footwear sales, best- and worst-case forecast, 2018-23