China and social media demand fuels racing sneaker resale market

Global Business

PC sneaker conPhoto credit: Sneaker Con

Thousands of people – mainly teenage boys – lined up for hours to attend Canada’s first Sneakercon in Toronto.

The annual event, which hits cities around the world like London, Las Vegas and New York is a marketplace for sneakers.

“The amount of money being spent in the aftermarket’s actually grown quite a bit,” Yu-ming Wu, co-founder of Sneakercon said. “About a year or two ago, the word around the street was about a billion dollars in resale in the aftermarket. I believe today we’re in the $2.5 to maybe $3 billion in the resale market.”

CGTN’s Karina Huber reports.

The United States is the world’s biggest sneaker resale market followed by Canada. But Wu said China is also a huge consumer. That’s why Sneakercon made its debut in Hong Kong this year.

“They’re just so hungry for what’s cool, what’s popping but for the most part as any teen anywhere on the planet, they just want to look fresh,” Wu said.

Many young consumers are buying their sneakers online. But there are concerns about fakes. Last year, a sneaker stock exchange called StockX was launched to create more transparency in the marketplace.

For some though there’s nothing better than seeing the merchandise up close.

Sneakercon is about much more than just buying and selling sneakers. It’s about connecting to a culture—one that started off as a sub-culture, but has now gone mainstream thanks, in part, to celebrities and social media.

For many sneakerheads – the first place they run to is not the sneaker vendors but to so called “shoe tubers” – people who review and talk sneakers on YouTube.

YouTube sensation, Qias Omar, has more than a half-million subscribers and is treated like a rock star.

Jaysee Lopez is another superstar in the sneaker world. His claim to fame – he owns a sneaker consignment shop in Las Vegas. Now, he has a YouTube following. Before starting his business four years ago with $40, he was homeless.

“I had nothing and met a girl and told her I was into sneakers and thought that I could maybe make a couple bucks in between and it just took a life of its own from the very beginning,” Lopez said.

Sneakers changed his life. His story and others like his are part of what’s fueling the interest in the sneaker resale market. Will everyone get rich? Of course not. But at least they’ll look cool trying to get there. Sports Editor Mike Bako discusses the sneaker resell market

CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo discussed the sneaker resell market with Sports Editor, Mike Bako.