Overheard on Wall Street: Favorite Shoe Brands on Social Media

Sam Edelman spring 2015
A Sam Edelman spring '15 style.
Courtesy of brand

An abundance of stats were tossed around on the Street this week as the U.S. Census Bureau announced its advanced estimates for U.S. retail and food-services sales for the month of May. Market watchers debated what the numbers mean for an impending Federal Reserve interest rate hike, overall market volatility and consumer sentiment.

The hotly debated numbers showed a 1.2 percent month-over-month increase, a 2.7 percent jump year-over-year, and 2.1 percent gain for March through May 2015 in sales of retail and food services.

But what does all of this mean for footwear?

While advance estimates for shoe businesses are not currently available through the U.S. Census Bureau, footwear-industry insiders have done their own market research to analyze the trends that affect their industry.

Read on for the roundup.

Wunderlich Securities Inc. analyst Danielle McCoy released the results of her “Mind, Body & Sole” social media survey that analyzed footwear trends and consumer sentiments on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter over a two-week span.

She says consumers look to social media for new trends and product offerings and have become accustomed to shopping a wider variety of products and being able to compare features and prices on the Internet.

Regarding specific brands, McCoy’s social media report highlighted consumers’ increasingly positive sentiments about Steve Madden, Crocs, Keds, Ugg Australia and Sam Edelman.

Among her social media snapshots, McCoy captured Instagram images from Steve Madden’s summer styles — including gladiator sandals and buckle-strap flats — that garnered north of 19,000 “likes” on the social media platform. Wolverine World Wide Inc.’s Keds also got 10,000-plus likes on Instagram for its platform soles and colorfully printed styles.

Several of Sperry’s looks racked up a few hundred Facebook “likes,” while several Sam Edelman offerings received more than 1,000 “likes.” Crocs also had its share of positive comments, with social media users expressing their “love” of the brand’s products.

Citi Research analyst Kate McShane released her weekly “Sole Patrol” report this week, highlighting growth in the casual-athletic footwear category.

According to McShane’s report, the top five brands in the first week of June, based on sales and market share, were Nike (42 percent), Brand Jordan (14 percent), Skechers (6 percent), Adidas (5 percent) and Under Armour (4 percent).

McShane said that for the first week of June, total U.S. athletic footwear point-of-sales were up 2.8 percent year-over-year and that those results were driven by a 2.9 percent increase in unit sales.

For the month of May, U.S. athletic sales were up 8.2 percent year-over-year, McShane also noted.