Women’s footwear sales in Australia rose by an average of 7.3% in the last financial year to an annual rate of $8.1 billion, according to research firm Wollongong-based shoe and shoe industry data provider Footwear Brands Australia.
The figures represent the first year-on-year increase in women’s footwear since 2009.
In 2017, the average sales of women’s boots, shoes and shoes for men reached $2.5 billion, with the average shoe selling for $1,400.
Footwear Brand Australia chief executive, Rebecca McAllister, said the data showed that the growth in women-focused footwear and accessories was in part driven by an increase in the number of women wearing the items.
“As a society we’ve seen women wear the footwear and the accessories we wear, it’s a way of communicating to ourselves that we can look stylish and feminine without necessarily needing to be the most physically active member of society,” Ms McAllisters said.
“And with a growing number of young women opting for a more casual lifestyle, they’re looking to wear shoes that are more supportive, more functional and less bulky than what’s been available before.”
Footwear brands such as Aravon, Wolky, Wollocky, Arco and Ziggity all reported strong sales figures for the year, while brands like Footwear Australia’s latest Women’s shoe figures are up by an annual average of 8.3%.
Wollokogu-based footwear brand Ziggety, which was founded in 1882, has had strong growth in the past year, selling 1.2 million women’s footwear in 2017, up 12% from the previous year.
Women’s footwears are now one of the biggest categories of footwear sales, with women making up more than a quarter of shoe buyers.
Footwares that cater to women are increasingly popular with young women, Ms McWeever said.
Footware sales are also increasing in men’s footwear.
Footworks has reported strong growth, with annual sales increasing by 12.5% in 2016, to $1.1bn, according for Footworks Australian chief executive Stephen Jones.
Footwork products such as socks, shorts, socks with a heel, sneakers and flip flops are also on the rise, Mr Jones said.
The growth of women-centric footwear and footwear accessories has seen a rise in the amount of money women are spending on shoes, and women are now spending on footwear at a higher rate than men, Ms Jones said, adding that this was driven by the rise of the online retail industry and an increase of the popularity of women who were looking for footwear that was more functional.
“For women who are more physically active, this is an opportunity to go out and find a pair of shoes that can support that activity,” she said.
She said that the majority of women are not buying footwear from men’s brands, with female shoppers spending more on footwear online.
“Women are spending more time on social media, they are spending less time shopping at the physical retail store,” Ms Jones told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“So there is a shift in spending.”
Footworks Australia also said that women were spending more money on shoes online, with online shopping account for 17.9% of the company’s sales in 2016.
“We are seeing that there are women who shop online for a wider variety of brands and footwear,” Ms Williams said.
Australian women are buying more women’s clothing, shoes, boots and footwear, with footwear sales up by a higher proportion than men’s, Footwear Marketing chief executive and executive director Lisa Burt said.
Ms Burt told ABC Breakfast that the data also showed a shift away from men-specific footwear.
“The trend is for men’s boots to be a much more premium, more luxury type of shoe,” she told Breakfast.
“In terms of footwear, the trend is not as much for men as women buying more of the women’s-specific brands and there are a lot of women shopping for women’s styles in the men’s section, she said