The online footwear market in 2024 is expected to penetrate almost a quarter (24.2%) of the total footwear market, according to GlobalData’s Global Footwear Market 2027 report.

Tech innovations enhancing the online experience

Several technological advancements are contributing to the online footwear market’s resurgence. Brands are incorporating features like artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) into their websites, which help shoppers accurately select the right size and style.

Between 2023 and 2027 the online channel is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.1%, making up over a quarter (25.8%) of the overall footwear market by 2027.

Credit: GlobalData

GlobalData’s Artificial Intelligence in Retail and Apparel report suggested the market will be worth $908.7bn by 2030 and within the apparel sector, manufacturers will have the biggest opportunities to capitalise on that growth depending on where they choose to apply the technology.

In 2019 US sports brand Nike introduced its Fit technology which measures users’ feet using their smartphone cameras and AI algorithms.

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The following year UK online retailer The Very Group made an AI technology investment in the hopes of converting online browsers into paying shoppers and boosting its revenue in the following years.

In March of this year, Matalan claimed to be the “first” UK retailer to adopt a Generative AI (GenAI) tool to enhance online product descriptions and elevate the online shopping experience and also boost sales.

How is the online footwear market expected to perform regionally?

The Asia Pacific region remains the largest footwear market globally, accounting for 36.3% of the market share in 2023. This region’s share is projected to grow by a further 2.4 percentage points by 2027 and it will be fuelled by a young “tech-savvy” population with increasing spending power.

The report highlighted that the ease and comfort of online shopping will continue to appeal to an increasing number of consumers in future, especially as brands continue to mesh their physical and digital capabilities to encourage customers to shop across both channels.

In contrast, the Americas’ share of the market is forecast to fall by 1.4ppts between 2023 and 2027 to a third (33.0%).

This decline is attributed to high inflation, which is likely to affect consumers’ ability to spend on non-essential items. Additionally, since the footwear market in the region is already well-developed, its potential for growth is said to be limited.

In 2023 the global online market grew by 3.3% to a penetration of 23.5%. This was driven by less developed markets like the Middle East & Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America, and was supported by increasing internet penetrations and growing economies.

On 8 May tracking solution provider RFID Discovery announced it was working with European clothing supplier Brook Taverner, however, GlobalData has revealed Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) apparel patents have not risen since 2020.