The Social Economy of Sneakers

In today’s world of social media and constant exposure to trends, what you wear is slowly becoming more and more of who you are. As such, it is no surprise that the market for sneakers has become one of the most competitive in the world, both for sellers and buyers. Companies like Nike are frequently trying to best competitors like Adidas, with the most “hyped” or limited edition shoe. On the other hand, consumers and die hard aficionados are always on the lookout for their next pair, monitoring social media for the next big releases. One major Instagram account which serves as an outlet for this market is @SneakerNews, with almost 8 million followers. Thus for me, I chose this Instagram account as a proxy for the real life market itself. By analyzing 30 random posts in the month of January, I hoped to understand several aspects of desirability. The variables to be analyzed were: 1) what brand is the shoe in the photo, 2) is the shoe a collaboration between the main brand and another one (e.g. Nike with the NBA), 3) how many likes did the post receive, and 4) what is the current resale value. Some of the relationships between variables to be analyzed included 1) the impact of brand on post likes and 2) the correlation between post likes and resale value. My general hypotheses were that in the industry, Nike has reemerged as the industry leader and that generally posts of shoes that performed better would lead to the shoe having a higher resale value. These both were affirmed by the visualization I created. We can see that based off of the “market share” of posts from Sneaker News, Nike performed incredibly well, outpacing its leading competitor, Adidas, by approximately three times. Adidas was followed by the brands Vans and Puma. In addition to that, by creating a scatterplot of post likes (bins) and resale prices, we can see that there is a generally (albeit weak) positive correlation between post likes and shoe resale prices. We may be able to attribute this to the fact that people get more excited on social media when the resale value for a shoe is projected to be high, perhaps due to its scarcity or fame of the collaborator (e.g. Virgil Abloh), if the shoe is a collaboration.

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