We might start seeing some brands disappear
With the ongoing uncertainty around the globe right now, the market has become quite volatile. While a lot of the conversation in the football boot industry has been about whether release dates will be kept and what will happen to product that was scheduled to release this year, which a tournament year is a huge year for brands, not as much attention has been paid to how brands will cope.
Obviously, the biggest hitters in the market, like Nike, adidas and Puma won’t have any issues, and are more likely to receive cash injections from governments in their respective home countries, this isn’t the case for many other companies. Setting aside the fact that it’s massively immoral for these companies to be given government cash when they already are worth billions and are spread over the world like an octopus, smaller companies won’t have such forgiving circumstances. But that doesn’t mean that all of the smaller companies are in similar tight squeezes.
Mizuno and Asics are both big enough companies and have enough cash reserves so they shouldn’t have so many issues, as Japanese companies are well known for sitting on cash reserves to use during times of crisis. Since both companies make a majority of their sales in their domestic market, falling demand worldwide won’t affect them as much. It’s a similar story for other brands who thrive in their domestic market, think brands like Lotto and Diadora or Joma and Munich.
However, for companies that are bigger outside of football and have smaller impact in the boot industry, there will be much rougher times ahead. New Balance is an interesting example of this. Ostensibly a massive sportswear company in general, their impact in the footie market was already due to decrease even without prevent circumstances, since they are losing the Liverpool sponsorship and the rumours that they might even lose their biggest name in Sadio Mane. They have been relatively successful and might be OK given the desire on the part of NB to keep pumping money into the football market in order to establish themselves more. What is unknown though is if that desire to try and make an impact is still there in a contracting market. This is conjecture, but we may see New Balance decreasing the amount of funding for their football products even if there is a lot of money being freed up since they will no longer sponsor Liverpool.
Under Armour is probably one of the most interesting cases since the company’s sales have been slagging over the past few years and even their founder is stepping down as CEO. BootWizardBootReviews did a great video on UA’s issues and it is well worth a watch. Considering the company won’t even bother with marketing with their newest boots and haven’t even done much distribution of their product outside of their official stores, it would not be too difficult to imagine them finally dropping out of the football boot market and the footie industry in general as a result of prior and present circumstances. And unfortunately, it’s not too likely that people will miss them.
This present crisis is also pretty difficult for the smaller, more artisanal brands. Brands like Ryal, Yasuda and RetroStar Classic might endure difficult years. Hopefully they won’t have too many issues but because of their size and limited renown they might have to make some difficult decisions. Personally, I’d be more worried about these brands since there are not many companies sticking to handmade boots these days. This isn’t to try and influence any boot buying decisions, since you should always get what you feel most comfortable in, but it is worth keeping such brands in mind if it is possible.
The rest of this year will give us all a good idea of the direction the boot industry will go in, but given that there is likely to be a bigger impact than the crash in 2008, there are a lot of unknowns at the moment. Whatever happens, it certainly is never boring!
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