Global Socks Market Size

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Global Socks Market Size

The global market size of socks was $42.2 billion in 2018. By market share, Asia Pacific and Europe dominated this industry. The industry is sectioned into casual, formal, and athletic, by product. In 2019, about 21.24 billion pairs of socks were sold. Some of the most recent trends related to socks include socks with arch support and socks with abstract designs. The average selling price of socks by Nike, Adidas, H&M, Hanes, Uniqlo, Zara (Inditex), Primark, Marks & Spencer, Puma, Shimamura, Reebok, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Kiabi, Gap, Target, and Napapijri can be found in this spreadsheet.

GLOBAL SOCKS MARKET

Market Overview

  • While socks have always been known as commodity products, in recent years, the advent of luxury socks and socks for certain applications like sports, have changed these products to fashion pieces. Currently, roughly 50% of men globally use socks daily.
  • Socks are now a fashion statement among youths. Athletes, celebrities, and even politicians now wear colorful patterned socks and display them on social media. This has led to the emergence of startups offering a wide range of colorful patterned socks.
  • Some of the key players in the global socks market include Nike, Adidas, Puma, Asics Corporation, Under Armour, Hanesbrands, and THORLO.

Market Size by Region

  • In 2018, the global socks market was worth $42.2 billion.
  • With a 44.5% share, Asia Pacific is dominating the market. This means its socks market was worth $18.8 billion in 2018.
  • Europe had the second largest share of the market at 22%. Its socks market was valued at $9.28 billion.
  • North America had a 19.8% share of the global socks market, making its market size $8.36 billion.
  • The Midde East & Africa have an aggregate share of about 8%. Their socks market was worth $3.38 billion in 2018.
  • At 5.7%, South America held the least share of the market. Its socks market was valued at $2.4 billion in 2018.

Key Market Segments

  • By product, the socks market is segmented into casual, formal, and athletic. Casual socks accounted for a 54.3% share of the global market in 2018. Formal socks had a market share of roughly 35.7%, while athletic socks had a 10% share of the market.
  • The fact that these products can be used with any apparel is forecast to remain an advantage for the industry. A significant number of consumers worldwide buy casual socks made with polyester and nylon a result of the easy availability and comfortability of these types of socks. Some of the casual socks manufacturers dominating the industry include Kane Socks Company, Mustang Socks & Accessories, and Sock Talk.
  • The athletic socks segment is expected to have the fastest growth from 2019 to 2025. It is forecast to grow by 6.9%. Athletes and people who frequent the gym are the main consumers of athletic socks. These individuals use athletic socks to prevent their feet from sliding around shoes and minimize blisters.
  • By distribution channel, the global socks market is sectioned into Hypermarket & Supermarket, Convenience Store, and Online. Surprisingly, the hypermarket and supermarket segment had the largest share of the market in 2018 at 59%. These stores are preferred by global consumers due to the availability of several types and brands of socks.
  • While the online segment currently has the least share of the market, there is hope as it is forecast to have the fastest growth from 2019 to 2025 at 6.9%. The penetration rate of this segment is high in "emerging economies such as China and India due to growing adoption of smartphones."

Factors Driving Growth

  • The main factor driving the growth of the socks market is the rising demand for different shoes. The increasing importance of "maintaining formal attire among white-collar professionals on a global level is expected to play a crucial role in expanding the utility of socks" which will in turn boost the market.
  • Another factor driving the growth of the global socks market is the population growth, urbanization, and rising disposable income in developing countries like India, China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The popularity of professional sports cricket leagues in India and Australia open "new avenues for the domestic players to increase their expenditure on purchasing premium sports accessories including shoes and socks."
  • The increasing number of celebrities endorsing popular brands has significantly fueled the growth of the socks market. For example, Nike works with several sports professionals to promote its socks products.
  • Innovation is another key driver of growth in the market. For instance, in 2018, Kickstarter PBC introduced a wide range of socks with abstract designs. United Legwear & Apparel also launched over 100 different styles of men and women socks.

SALES VOLUME OF SOCKS & AVERAGE SELLING PRICE

  • In 2019, the sales volume of socks sold was 21.24 billion pairs. Since the sales volume of socks by region could not be found in market research reports, credible news publications, and data intelligence platforms, the market share of each region has been used to estimate their sales volume.
  • Since the Asia Pacific region has the largest share of the market at 44.5%, its sales volume was 9.45 billion pairs.
  • Considering Europe has the second largest share of the market at 22%. Its sales volume was 4.67 billion pairs of socks.
  • It has been established that North America has a 19.8% share of the global socks market, thus, its sales volume was 4.21 billion.
  • Seeing as the Midde East & Africa have an aggregate share of about 8%. Their sales volume was 1.7 billion.
  • South America holds a 5.7% share of the socks market. Its sales volume was 1.21 billion pairs of socks.
  • The average selling price of sock brands by Nike, Adidas, H&M, Hanes, Uniqlo, Zara (Inditex), Primark, Marks & Spencer, Puma, Shimamura, Reebok, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Kiabi, Gap, Target, and Napapijri can be found in this spreadsheet. Please note that Napapijri does not have any socks it sells online or through third party e-commerce stores like Amazon, as a result, "NA" was entered in its row.
  • The spreadsheet shows the lowest price, the highest price, and the average of both for a pair of socks as seen on their online stores.

LARGEST SOCK BRANDS BY MARKET SHARE

  • By market share, the largest socks brands globally are Nike, Adidas, Puma, Asics, Under Armour, THORLO, Balega, Hanesbrands Inc, and Drymax Technologies.
  • These companies maintain their substantial market share by entering sponsorship agreements with athletes and major associations of sports events. For example, Adidas sponsors Manchester United and Real Madrid C.F., while Nike sponsors Barcelona, and Puma sponsors Arsenal.
  • In 2016, Hanesbrands was the leading sock brand in the US, with a market share of almost 12%, followed by Fruit of the Loom with a market share of 8.3%. Gildan had a market share of 6%.

GLOBAL TRENDS AROUND SOCKS

Abstract Designs

  • One major trend related to socks is abstract patterns. Abstract socks are socks with art or bold drawings.
  • Style publications like Vogue mention that these types of socks satisfy women who are "more dialed-in accessory heads."
  • Male style publications like Kumplo highlight that wearing abstract socks is a simple way for men to make their office clothing more interesting. It is clear that this is a trend among men and women worldwide.
  • Companies are also capitalizing on this trend. In 2018, Kickstarter PBC launched up to ten abstract socks under a new brand called Say Possible.

Celebrities Releasing Socks

  • Another rising trend related to socks involves celebrities working with well-known sock brands to release their own line of socks.
  • Recently, Queen, the popular rock band, announced that it was releasing a limited-edition of socks collection for Spring/Summer 2020.
  • Queen worked with Happy Socks, a Swedish sock brand for the collection. The socks "features six pairs of soft combed cotton crew socks and four pairs of kid’s crew socks in organic combed cotton, all available as singles." They will come with prints and lyrics from the band's best-selling songs like Bohemian Rhapsody and We Will Rock You.

Socks With Arch Support

  • With more people trying to become healthier by going to the gym, there has been an increase in the demand for socks with arch support. These socks reduce foot fatigue.
  • Several brands are now designing a variety of socks with arch support in a wide range of designs and colors.
  • Arch support socks are also the best options for athletes or people suffering from flat feet, plantar fasciitis, or any feet inflammation.
  • Recently, Goldwin released a line of arch support socks to leverage this trend.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Using publicly accessible information, we sought the breakdown of brands' market share of the global socks market in a number of ways, none of which proved sufficient to generate an exact picture of this market.
Our first strategy involved exploring trusted market research entities and industry consultancy sources including IBIS World, Market Research, and Markets and Markets. These sources offered many insights into the global socks market and highlighted the brands leading this market. However, the specific market share of these brands was blocked by their paywalls.
Next, we turned to news articles published by credible sources like Forbes and Fortune. After identifying the companies dominating the global sock market - as reported by market research firms, we individually looked up each brand for any mention of their market share. These publications only discussed the market share of some of these brands in the apparel industry (inclusive of socks). Since nothing related to socks alone was found, we sought out more creative methods of approaching this project.
We first explored the publicly disclosed financial statements and self-descriptions of each of these sock brands. We had hoped we could use this information to extrapolate a picture of the market. We found little success with this strategy. Many such companies are privately held and do not release that information and the few we could acquire did not isolate their sock business from apparels in general. Since the above strategies failed in estimating or identifying the market share of the leading sock brands, we only provided their names.

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