The sneaker resale market is the modern day stock market
December 1, 2020
Back when your parents were teenagers, basketball shoes and sneaker stores probably wasn’t that special to them. They never considered how sneakers would impact youth culture in the long run. In 2020, kids resell sneakers, like the Jordan 1, for profit.
A study from Cowen Equity Research shows that the sneaker resale market could reach $30 billion by 2030 and occupy 30% of the entire sneaker market worldwide. So-called “hypebeasts”, nowadays hold sneakers like a traditional investment (like a stock or real estate) and make a profit when they sell.
Christian Cantelon, known as “SneakerTalk,” online, is a Toronto-based YouTuber specializing in sneakers, fashion, and travel. At the time of this article’s publishing, Christian has amassed a whopping 354,000 subscribers and counting! Christian explains, “It’s really interesting to see what brands will start collaborating with sneaker companies. Back in the day, it was more of a rare special thing, now in 2020, it’s like every week has a new collab.” He first got into sneakers in 2012 during his senior year of high school, and his first flip was the “Air Jordan Flight 91 Oreo”. It was $100 on Boxing Day. “The price was a steal, but It was two sizes too big. I wore them once and sold them for $20 profit.”
Christian believes, “there has been a steady rise of demand over the last few years with cool events like the NBA All-Star Weekend happening in Toronto, where sneakers got a lot more attention in the city.” When you buy a sneaker, “it’s able to maintain its value if it has a trait like scarcity or a certain celebrity wearing it.”
From other people, he’s learned that the market is “a little hard to predict which pairs will go up, so it’s best always to keep a portfolio of your inventory.” He goes on to say, “After you’re in the game, you’ll have a better sense of what’s gonna go up. You have a better chance of making profit consistently instead of it being a gamble.” According to Christian, the most significant factors for the sneaker market are “mostly scarcity, the initial hype on release day, how easy it is to obtain, and how fast you can sell it.”
Christian thinks celebrity influence has made the sneaker market skyrocket over the last decade explaining, “A lot of people wanna be like the people they admire (Travis Scott, Kanye West, etc.) and they use that person as a reference to see what’s cool and what’s not.” The times are a bit different now, with Christian elaborating, “In the past 10 years with social media, it’s easier to see what pairs of shoe people have on compared to 10 years ago when it was more about face-to-face interaction and less about popping off on Instagram.”
When it comes to the sneaker resale market’s influence on company stocks, Christian doesn’t believe the stock market is directly influenced by hype sneakers. “It wouldn’t take over the stock market, so to speak, but the actions of the company do influence it (signing a new artist, annual revenue, etc.).” The sneaker resale market, according to Christian, is approaching its peak, further elaborating on it, saying, “I feel like in a few years the market will rise a little bit but hit a plateau. Fans of sneakers like Jordan’s or YEEZY’s are willing to pay a certain premium for them right now, but this has the potential to become overwhelming as the increase in releases and manufactured hype starts to get old.”
Although Christian has his dream job creating content full-time, he still resells sneakers occasionally at conventions, on eBay, or on Instagram. When he was in High School, he would resell sneakers on Kijiji and Facebook but doesn’t anymore because new platforms, such as StockX, have taken over the market.
If you’re thinking about joining the community of reselling sneakers or want to study up on it, here are some tips.
- Learn which sneaker styles tend to sell best when a new one drops.
- Make connections in Facebook groups or join a cook group on Discord. (it goes a long way).
- Get information on when to buy new release sneakers from a stockist by going on websites like hypebeast.com/drops or sneakernews.com/release-dates (stores tend to raffle, first come, first serve, etc. for a drop).
- Be smart about how much you’re spending on a drop and look at your potential ROI (return on investment) so you don’t miss out on a more profitable release.
- If a deal is successful, make sure you bring someone to the meetup to ensure safety. During times like these, make sure to wear a mask and social distance. Worst comes to worst, pay the seller extra for shipping (cheap if local).
Sneakers can be worn, collected, loved, or hated. It’s all about people’s different perceptions of it. Thank you, Christian, for the interview. You can check out his content on the YouTube channel, “SneakerTalk,” and on Instagram @sneakertalkca!