The astronomical growth in the popularity of shoes, which only a few seasons ago had the right to exist except on vegetable beds and livestock farms, occurred in the summer of 2012 in Britain, to which the world owes the appearance of wellington boots (this term has long been firmly entrenched in shoes made from rubber). Over the past two years, the international shoe market has increased sales of PVC and natural rubber shoes several times.
The rainy season, heavily flavored with country festivals and all kinds of fashion parties, forced British it-girls to leave fashionable sandals on the shelves of their dressing rooms and change into waterproof "hunters" and related boots that can withstand the bog of Glastonbury and South Wales. In the same 2012, the respected The Guardians and The Daily Mail devoted their front pages to the new trend. The publications unanimously declared to the world: in rubber shoes you can appear in a secular society, it goes well not only with work overalls, but also with a light chiffon dress. No wonder 23 pairs of rubber shoes were sold every week in Britain that summer! For example, the reputable department store Debenhams increased sales in this segment by 000%. But the season has passed, and the fashion for waterproof shoes has remained. Moreover, it not only remained, but acquired an international status.
According to experts, the rainy British summer was only a catalyst. Naomi Shefford, Director of Footwear Marketing at Debenhams commented, “Yes, the cold and wet summer has become the ideal environment for retailers focused on rubber footwear. But, in my opinion, more and more people are ready to wear these models every day. " These words are confirmed by statistics. A new study by online agency Fash, published on very.co.uk, found that women wear waterproof boots more often than athletic models during the rainy season. 57% of women surveyed said that they gladly put on rubber shoes when going for a walk or work. And 68% confirmed that it is not at all a shame to appear in such models in the city center.
“The fashion for these shoes is due to the general global trends in the fashion industry. Even 8 years ago, rubber boots were not considered an indispensable element of the wardrobe, and they could be found in the closet unless an amateur gardener or a young mother. Over the past years, the catwalks have convinced us that rubber shoes are a real fashion accessory, greatly underestimated in our country. Now, fortunately, the situation is changing ”, - comments Christina Shakhova, General Director of Golden Trade LLC, SWIMS representative office in Russia.
According to market experts, not only the catwalks and stars actively changing their shoes in wellington boots contributed to the global growth in sales of rubber shoes, but also the availability of these models. “There are several factors that influenced the development of this segment. Firstly, this is the price of the issue - these shoes are cheaper than leather ones. Secondly, practicality - molded shoes are utilitarian and durable. You don't need to take care of such boots, which is also important for the modern rhythm of life. Thirdly, with the help of casting, you can create incredible shapes and color combinations that cannot even be imagined in execution with the help of natural materials. Waterproof boots have the right to be defiantly bright, shiny, cheerful, which can be successfully used to create a stylish look, as well as just improve your mood and not pay attention to the gray gloomy sky overhead. Fourthly, one should not forget about the strong environmental movement - more and more people are trying not to consume goods in the production of which genuine leather is used, ”comments Andrey Starkov, marketing manager at Crocs.
Mythic Discoveries and Market Growth
Despite the fact that in Britain and abroad rubber boots are often called simply "Wellingtons", Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, has a very indirect relationship to their creation. The fact is that he instructed his shoemaker to sew boots that are comfortable for riding long before the new material appeared. The craftsman fulfilled the task by creating a model of very durable calfleather.
The history of waterproof shoes began several decades later, when in 1852 Chriam Hutchinson acquired a patent from Goodyear for the production of rubber shoes. A year later, returning to his native France, the American businessman founded the company l'Aigle ("Eagle"), just 4 years later it already produced 14 pairs of shoes by hand per day! And today the company remains the market leader, and 000% of its products are manufactured using manual technology.
During the First World War, the need for durable rubber shoes increased, and a new manufacturer entered the market - the North British Rubber Company (now Hunter): by order of the War Department, it develops special models of boots suitable for the military. In those years, a total of about 1 pairs were produced for the British army. The subsequent decline in demand was short-lived. World War II rekindled demand for rubber shoes and Hunter got down to business again. By the end of the war, "Wellingtons" became popular not only among the military, but also among the civilian population. It was the low cost and ease of production that made rubber footwear especially relevant in the post-war years. And the khaki boots with the Hunter logo over time have become a real symbol of Great Britain.
The British can be considered trendsetters for rubber footwear, but the popularity of these models was not limited to the borders of Foggy Albion. In Canada and the United States, it appeared in the same middle of the 20th century. And in Russia - a little later, in the early 60s of the last century. In the post-war years, almost two dozen factories for the production of rubber footwear were opened on the territory of the Union. In the XNUMXs, when Nikita Khrushchev, who came to power, proclaimed the "battle for modesty", rubber shoes were declared "socialistically correct" and in fact became the only one available to most citizens. Therefore, in modern Russia, at first they reacted extremely cautiously to the newly emerged trend: the memories of "galosh childhood" were too strong.
However, modern waterproof shoes made of natural or synthetic materials cannot be compared with models of the last century. “In recent years, both the quality and the appearance of shoes have changed significantly. We have long gone away from the concept of rubber footwear, in its "Soviet" understanding, and we pay great attention to design. For this we involve specialists from Holland and Spain. A wide range of models and colors for both children's, men's and women's shoes allows us to maximize the circle of our consumers, which has a positive effect on the level of sales, ”comments Maxim Melnik, head of the sales department at Gavary Shoes Group.
According to market experts, in recent years, the direct dependence of its popularity on the season has disappeared: there are rubber off-season boots, warmed winter models, summer sandals and ballet flats. The product range is expanding every year, thus "closing" all seasons. Summer models appear on the market that are ideal for relaxing at sea (you can even swim in them), picnics and walking around the city. “Considering the peculiarity of the climate in Russia, the seasonality of rubber footwear is not limited only to the autumn months. This is especially true of women's rubber boots, which are currently in demand all year round. The situation is different with men's galoshes and waterproof models of boots, in this case, sales growth occurs, as a rule, in the off-season with prevailing rainfall, slush and mud ", comments Christine.
Technologies and materials
The main materials for the production of "rubber" footwear are natural rubber, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and materials based on EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate).
Some brands, despite the high cost of the starting material, continue to use exclusively natural rubber in their production, such as Swims and the pioneer of the genre - the l'Aigle company, each pair of boots of which consists of 80% natural material.
Large brands of injection molded footwear tend to invest heavily in R&D to create new materials with unique characteristics for their shoes. For example, Melissa manufactures all products from the patented Melflex material, and Crocs from the Croslite ™ material (crosslight) - a special foam polymer that is light, soft, but at the same time durable and has the effect of “memory of the shape of the leg”.
Some companies use EVA-based materials that have high elasticity, good shock absorption and high wear resistance. One of the properties of EVA is high thermal insulation, so shoes can be used at temperatures up to minus 30 ° C.
Which material is best? There is no definite answer. “Each of the materials has pluses and minuses. So, for example, rubber is softer, but the production technology involves gluing various parts by hand and, therefore, there is a possibility of marriage. PVC is not so soft, but thanks to the production technology used, the probability of rejection is minimal. EVA material is very light and soft, however, if you do not seal the sole of the boot, then you can very quickly puncture it, damaging not only the boot itself, but also the leg. Therefore, each manufacturer decides for himself what material suits him, ”comments Mikhail Vakhrushev, CEO of Boomboots.
Today, competition in the rubber footwear market is fierce: the trendsetters of the genre Hunter and l'Aigle are still confident, but newcomers - Brazilian brand Melissa, American Crocs and Norwegian Swims - are stepping on their heels. Boldly relying on the production of one category of goods, these companies are developing at a rapid pace. Thus, the Melissa company, founded in 1979, has produced in less than 35 years, more than fifty million pairs of shoes, most of which were exported to 80 countries of the world. The first pair of funny clogs with a hole appeared only in 2002, and today Crocs collections have several lines of shoes, more than 300 models for all occasions are presented in 90 countries of the world.
Almost all market players have separate lines of waterproof shoes - from the premium segment (just remember the Chanel models, the excitement around which flared up a couple of years ago) to brands operating in the middle price segment (in previous seasons, Analpa announced high sales growth in this product categories).
Oddly enough, despite the general decline in domestic production, in the post-Soviet space today there are many factories focused on the production of footwear made of PVC materials. One of the largest manufacturers is Pskov-Polymer. In addition, there are several dozen smaller industries that produce similar products: PK KhimProm (Rostov-on-Don), Dailos LLC (Moscow), Tomsk Rubber Footwear Plant LLC, PKF Duna LLC -Ast "and LLC" Sardonyx "(Astrakhan). These factories work under the order, and also produce products under their own brands. Growing competition does not stop the influx of new players in the market. Some manufacturers trust domestic factories to release their goods, others prefer to place orders with factories located in Italy, Mexico, Bosnia, Vietnam and China. The global production of rubber footwear is constantly growing. Today it is measured in billions of dollars a year.
Tab. 1. World trade in "rubber" footwear, in 2008-2011, thousand US dollars A source: International Trade Center.
in 2008 city
in 2009 city
in 2010 city
in 2011 city
in 2012 city
in 2013 city
According to the International Trade Center, the world's largest suppliers of such products are: China, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Germany. The total export volume of the studied products of these countries in 2011 amounted to more than 64% of the total. Moreover, the share of China amounted to more than 42%. In 2013, the total volume grew to 72,3%.
Experts are sure, as in any other shoe segment, correct brand building, originality of ideas and product quality are the main tools in the struggle for the attention of the buyer. Some manufacturers are starting to expand their segments and, for example, position their shoes as designer shoes in the casual lifestyle segment, offering options for both autumn and winter shoes (there are even boots with fur). This allows retailers to rethink their approach to sales and move from small shelving with a limited set of pairs of rubber shoes to an expanded presentation of the manufacturer's entire model line in the store. And the sale of such unusual and bright-looking shoes not only increases store traffic, but also increases sales. At the end point of sales - a store - the sales results are also well influenced by well-organized marketing programs. Merchandisers believe that displaying in-store video clips showing the process of making these shoes and reporting from fashion shows using these shoes is an excellent product promotion strategy. Variants of ready-made "bows" on mannequins work perfectly (many women of fashion do not fully understand what exactly such shoes can be worn with).
Mikhail Vakhrushev, CEO: Sales depend on the weather
Materials. “The range of the brand today includes two types of boots - made of PVC and rubber. Since we place orders in China, the problem of raw materials is solved by our Chinese counterparties, while we constantly monitor product quality. We initially chose a manufacturer who works only with high-quality raw materials, and we have no problems from this side. "
Competitive advantages. “There are two ways to compete in such a narrow market - by price policy and by tracking new trends. We sell high quality footwear, therefore, the price war is not a priority for us. Our company annually replenishes its assortment with ultra-fashionable models that correspond to current trends and this allows us to attract new customers and successfully conduct business. Shoes under the BOOMBOOTS brand are sold today not only in Russia, but also in Europe through our Latvian division - this way it is more convenient to solve problems with logistics and get additional revenue in the off-season. Some of our shoes are sold on one of the largest English ASOS sites in the Marketplace, which features independent designers and young brands.
The target audience. We sell only women's boots, our audience is girls and women from 16 to 40. The target audience as a whole is constant
Development plans. BOOMBOOTS company regularly expands the range and now we are preparing new products for the next season. The brand line has unique models: the latest technology allows you to make rubber boots that are visually almost indistinguishable from leather counterparts. It’s difficult to predict the new season, our sales are directly dependent on the weather, and even specialized organizations cannot predict it.
Christina Shakhova, General Director of Golden Trade LLC (SWIMS representative office in Russia): Designers help to fight for the consumer!
Материал. Norwegian brand technologists initially began to use exclusively natural rubber in the production using innovative processing, thanks to which SWIMS shoes and galoshes withstand temperatures from +35 to -25 degrees and do not change their properties and shapes. The inner surface of the galoshes is finished with soft textiles, which not only do not spoil the sensitive surface of the boots, but due to a little friction, it becomes a natural way to clean small contaminants.
Competitive advantages. SWIMS competes only in its price segment, and this is not all rubber footwear manufacturers on the market. In order to compete fairly for the consumer, the brand's designers and technologists from year to year offer more and more meaningful collections that meet the latest fashion trends and high customer requirements. This also applies to the silhouettes of the models in the collection, and the materials used, as well as, importantly, the color palette. Together, these moments - silhouette, material, color - represent the inimitable Scandinavian design and quality that distinguish SWIMS footwear.
The target audience. SWIMS has a fairly large audience reach, because the collections include models both in the classical style and completely trendy, which will find their fans among a wide audience of 20 to 65 years old.
Development plans. The Norwegian brand SWIMS is a design company that does not stand still and every year creates new models, uses high-tech materials that allow you to enjoy the convenience and practicality of SWIMS shoes and galoshes. For 4 years now, summer moccasins have appeared on our market, presented in bright fashionable colors, both for women and for men. Every season more and more people in the world learn about our brand and become its ardent fans. Russia is no exception, which we are infinitely happy about!
GAVARY SHOES GROUP (OYO BRAND)
Maxim Melnik, Head of Sales, Gavary Shoes Group: In the current season, sales increased by 12%.
Materials. Gavary Shoes Group manufactures shoes from innovative materials based on EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate), which outperform rubber shoes in many ways. We can safely say that our models are high-tech and comfortable. Our team of chemists is constantly working on improving raw materials to improve the physical and technical properties of the product, such as durability, flexibility, resilience, UV resistance. In the production of soles for winter shoes, we also use other materials that improve the coefficient of adhesion to the surface, in other words, we achieve an anti-slip effect. I will also add that all of our shoes have high shock-absorbing properties, a "smart" insole that conforms to the shape of the foot, and also equipped with additional protection in the forefoot. It is hypoallergenic and resistant to aggressive chemicals such as reagents and oils.
Competitive advantages. Gavary Shoes Group in the shoe market for over 10 years. For a business, this is not such a long time, but during this time we managed to create a product that meets all the requirements of the market. Of course, we constantly analyze the competitive environment and make a lot of efforts to stand out against the general background: design, innovative materials, marketing support, high quality and affordable price. Today, comfortable shoes are more popular, and if they still combine high consumer properties and attractiveness, while the retail price does not exceed 1-500 rubles, then the reasons for the increase in demand are quite obvious. At the moment, the assortment consists of four lines of a different price segment, oriented both to young people and to an older audience.
The target audience. Our target audience is quite wide, as we produce women's, men's and children's shoes for all seasons. And it can be noted that if earlier shoes were bought more like garden shoes, now they are successfully worn in everyday life.
Development plans. We are constantly working to expand the assortment matrix. At the end of last year, for example, we launched the GOW project, developed in collaboration with Dutch designers. In the current season, shoe sales increased by 12% compared to last season. The main sales channel for our products are network hypermarkets. Given the economic situation on the market, we cannot expect a sharp increase in the number of stores, therefore we plan to ensure sales growth by increasing our presence on the shelves, i.e. expanding the assortment, and maintaining a good marketing policy.
Andrey Starkov, Crocs marketing manager: The company is constantly working on improving materials.
Materials. Our proprietary material is called Croslite ™, a cellular foam polymer that compares favorably with similar materials used in footwear in many ways. Our model of classic clogs made from this material was introduced to the market in 2002. The recipe has been constantly improved since then - Croslite ™ is lighter, softer, more flexible and more elastic. Technological opportunities have also appeared to give the material new interesting shades and textures. Crocs introduced their biggest innovation this year, Colorlite ™, a new generation of Croslite resin, used in all of the brand's footwear. It is very thin, looks like leather, but is very light. The new material allows for more sophisticated models.
Competitive advantages. The Croslite ™ material is the hallmark of Crocs shoes, the secret to their comfort and uniqueness. The material is incredibly light and soft, adapts to the shape of the foot, absorbs shock loads, and evenly distributes the weight. From a practical point of view, Croslite ™ is strong, resilient, durable, non-staining, bacteriostatic, has low thermal conductivity, and is easy to maintain.
The target audience. The Crocs assortment includes models for adults and children, for all seasons for different situations of use. But we pay special attention to family purchases. As you know, such decisions in households are made, as a rule, by women; therefore, communication is directed at them.
Development plans. Currently, Crocs has over 300 models in different styles for all four seasons. That is, it is no longer a monoproduct, but a diversified offer for various consumer segments. We follow the trends and successfully use our competence in the production of fully cast models in the creation of hybrid lines, while we are guided by the following principles - comfort, brightness, innovation. For example, a 2014 innovation is the Stretch Sole line with Fit2U Technology ™, for which Crocs received a patent. This technology allows the sole to stretch in various directions, fully adapting to the characteristics of the foot.
KEDDO (Analpa inc)
Anastasia Buydenok, Head of Promotion:
Rubber shoes snapping incredibly fast
Materials The laboratory of our company in the Dutch Waalvik is constantly working to improve the quality of materials and improve the technology and functional characteristics of shoes. At the same time, the safety of products for consumers and manufacturers is always at the forefront for us. All materials meet the necessary technical requirements and are safe for consumers. Part of the production we produce in Italy, Russia and Belarus, most of the models for the Russian market - in Southeast Asia.
Competitive advantages. The brand's range of waterproof footwear includes a huge number of models: boots, ankle boots, boots, wedges, platforms, heels and grooved soles. The new KEDDO collection includes boots with unusual textures that imitate fabrics, lace and even spikes; shoes with metallic elements, as well as finishes with unusual materials and bright prints. KEDDO waterproof boots have an insole made of hygroscopic material inside, which creates more comfortable conditions for the foot. The shoe line includes models made of both durable and frost-resistant PVC, and rubber, which is lighter and more flexible.
The target audience. The audience of buyers of rubber shoes has always been wide and not limited to age characteristics or status. But if earlier this was due only to the functionality and practicality of waterproof shoes, today this is also due to the fact that it is at the peak of fashion. The KEDDO collection includes both a children's line of waterproof boots and boots, as well as an adult. They combine a wide range of models for every taste and are suitable for wearing in any weather conditions.
Development prospects. The range of waterproof shoes of the brand is expanding, from season to season, replenished with new models. The developers of the KEDDO brand are constantly working to improve the functional and style characteristics of shoes, delighting customers with a variety of colors, styles and design elements. By increasing the assortment from year to year, sales of KEDDO waterproof shoes are growing, allowing the brand to invariably occupy a leading position in this segment.
“Sales techniques are very important when working with models made of innovative materials,” emphasizes XXXX. Most companies conduct regular trainings for sellers, in which all the necessary specification about goods (quality, service life, model variations, etc.) is revealed to the maximum, allowing the buyer to convey all the information he is interested in.
The seller must:
Explain the benefits of new technologies. The Russian buyer still calls all waterproof footwear "rubber", not knowing much about the materials and nuances of production. Most of the consumers are unaware that new high-tech materials are safe to wear. World famous manufacturers produce footwear from materials that do not contain the most common allergens, such as latex, rubber, ethylmercury, thimerosal. Lightness, comfort, durability - it is important to list all the advantages of this or that model.
Suggest trying on your favorite model. It is fitting and personal feelings that are the most important factors for making a purchasing decision. It is important to remember that these models do not stretch during socks, so it is important to choose the right size shoes.
Pay attention to the care of this shoe. For example, due to high temperatures the material may become deformed, therefore it is better to wash such shoes with cold water. For the same reason, do not dry waterproof shoes near heat sources.
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