With millions worldwide preferring to shop from the relative safety of their own homes in the age of COVID-19, e-commerce has emerged as an MVP within the retail sector. Eddy Lu, co-founder and CEO of sneaker online marketplace GOAT, joined Yahoo Finance to discuss how the sneaker economy is still growing and what consumers should expect during the 2020 holiday season.
Lu tells Yahoo Finance that GOAT’s 2020 holiday shopping season is off to a good start despite the pandemic’s challenges.
“Black Friday really kick-starts our holiday season, and this year has been no different in terms of the size and how big it’s been ... I mean our Black Friday is the sneaker event of the holiday season; this year was no different.”
Lu notes that GOAT’s original Black Friday promotion in 2015 started with a bang. It was so popular that the company’s servers crashed due to the sheer number of consumers trying to nab their favorite kicks. Today, GOAT has 30 million global members on its platform, including more than 600,000 registered sellers.
As for what those millions of members are shopping for on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and throughout the season, Lu tells Yahoo Finance that collaborations are top sellers, but Jordan remains king.
“Collaborations are an increasingly important part of the sneaker ecosystem. You have Travis Scott, for example, collaborating on his Dunks. You even have Ben and Jerry with the Chunky Dunky Dunks and you have the Sacai Waffle trainer. So I really think collaborations are big,” he said.
“This year is definitely the year of the Jordan. You had the documentary that really boosts the sales — I mean, 76% increase week over week in Jordan sales when the documentary aired. And then you have the holiday season with Jordans. You have the Jordan of Fire Reds that launched on Saturday. And of course, Jordan, every single year, launches a new Jordan 11. This year is no different; it’s actually the 25th anniversary of the Jordan 11. So they have a special 25th-anniversary sneaker this year.”
In 2018, GOAT Group merged with famed sneaker consignment shop Flight Club. Despite those physical retail locations being closed due to the pandemic, Lu still believes that there is a place for the brick-and-mortar experience when it comes to sneaker retail.
“What we see is that destination retail is still so important. I mean, you walk into a Flight Club, it’s a completely different experience than walking into a traditional sneaker retailer. You actually see the iconic shoes, thousands of shoes in our grail walls and our grail cases that you would never see at a traditional sneaker store, because a sneaker store might have 200 shoes on the wall and it’s only this year’s styles rather than, you know, the 1985 Jordans ... you see a bunch of sneakers and it’s become a sneaker Mecca. And we do think destination retail is here to stay. So we will expand Flight Club in terms of the retail side of things.”
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.