Every shoe brand wants to nail direct to the consumer.
In general, higher profit margins and better control over brand distribution make DTC important for brands of all sizes. This is part of the reason why brands like Nike, Adidas and Crocs are moving away from partnering with individual wholesalers to focus on larger accounts and direct-to-consumer channels.
As e-commerce continues to grow, digital-focused shoe brands are seeing returns in web traffic. Similarweb, which analyzes web traffic data, highlighted the 25 fastest growing DTC footwear brands, based on web traffic. The list ranks brands by website traffic growth quarter over quarter and is limited to websites with at least 10,000 visitors per month.
Shoe brands and retailers on the list included Vivaia, Gaziano & Girling, Grenson, Grant Stone, Groundies and Drew’s Boots and more. In total, the top The 25 fastest growing DTC shoe sites saw a 64% increase in total traffic in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year.
Data has shown that small, digitally-focused shoe brands are winning over consumers, even as traditional brands adapt to changing trends. While the big brands grew during the quarter, they did not show the same percentage growth due to their size. For example, nike.com had 51 million monthly visitors in Q3, but traffic was only up 9.2% from Q2.
Sustainable footwear brand Vivaia was the fastest growing brand on the list, with a 138.7% increase in traffic since the second quarter, with 30,000 additional office visits. The traffic channels that saw the greatest growth in traffic to the site were paid search, organic search, referrals, email, and display ads.
“In this quarter’s fastest growing report, it’s exciting to see a sustainability-focused brand at the top of the list, both in terms of growth and size,” said Jamie Drayton, senior director of industry at Similarweb. “Vivaia offers comfortable and stylish women’s shoes that have the added benefit of sustainable production. We are also seeing the ever-present impact of seasonality as consumers buy boots in anticipation of colder weather.
As DTC channels become increasingly important for all footwear brands, a recent report by BMO Capital Markets analyst Simeon Siegel asserted that DTC channels will often offer retailers lower profit margins than retail channels. gross before taxes and interest. The report highlighted an inverse relationship between DTC penetration and reported revenue across retail businesses surveyed over the past five years. In other words, companies that experienced a decline in DTC penetration also experienced significant sales growth. The opposite was also true.
Nevertheless, DTC channels still offer businesses a higher level of control over branding, distribution, and pricing. According to Siegel, these benefits are “perhaps reason enough to switch from wholesale to DTC,” margins aside.