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StockX Confirms That Sneakers, Like Trading Cards, Have Become Investment Assets

The StockX “Big Facts” study reveals that a large majority of users who sold sports collectibles on its marketplace in 2020 also sold shoes.

In a new report released this week, apparel and collectibles marketplace StockX dove deep into just how the “nostalgia-fueled collectibles boom” has influenced the company’s sales and evolved the behaviors of buyers and sellers.

Perhaps most fascinating among their findings? “The Nostalgia Market” report found that 77% of customers who sold at least one collectible on StockX in 2020 sold at least one pair of sneakers as well.

“If you look at some of our top-selling cards, like Luka Doncic cards, slightly more than half of our card buyers have also purchased sneakers on StockX, demonstrating a high degree of overlap between the two communities,” StockX senior economist Jesse Einhorn said.

StockX, which counts entrepreneur Josh Luber and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert among its co-founders, initially achieved notoriety as a sneaker marketplace, but has expanded to all sorts of collectibles since its 2015 launch. The evolution has proven to be lucrative for StockX, with trading card sales jumping by a whopping 4,000% on the platform last year.

And with this latest round of data, it’s clear that sneakers have grown into a similar same kind of investment opportunity for collectors as trading cards have become.

“Ever since The Last Dance first aired a year ago, marketplaces like StockX have seen a huge surge in demand for rare and vintage sneakers,” Boardroom and ESPN’s Nick DePaula told Breakers. “The big shift now has been less around simply collecting them for a personal collection or to wear down the road; we’re seeing more and more people and even larger fractional investment apps and funds look at sneakers as a true investment vehicle.”

“Sneakers becoming an investment was always the insight that StockX was founded on, and it’s starting to truly happen on a wider scale than I’m sure they ever anticipated.”

StockX’s Einhorn concurs.

“Sneakers are another alternative asset class, and while there has long been a strong, consistent resale market, recent growth offers insight into the possible future of collectibles and card,” he explained. “Thanks to platforms like StockX, which offer easy access to millions of new buyers and sellers, the secondary sneaker market is projected to grow to $30 billion by the end of this decade.”

StockX has also expanded into watches, electronics, handbags, and even vinyl records of late, with the latter more than doubling in sales in 2020. The expansion into electronics and uptick in collectible volume and value has helped StockX post $400 million in revenue that year, with sights on much, much more in 2021.

So, what does all this tell us about where the industry could be going next?

“We’re seeing a digital renaissance unlike any other time in the streetwear and collectible market’s history, with elements of modernized design, crypto, investing, and digitized moments all converging together at once,” says Nick DePaula. “I see the next step in the sneaker space being brands really venturing further into the concept of digital sneakers. I’ve always liked sneakers to simply wear them, but more than ever, we’re seeing what sounded like a crazy concept a decade ago become a reality.”

StockX will be far from the only player in this rapidly evolving space, of course.

Gucci just launched a $12 sneaker NFT, and every brand is already exploring what that roadmap and entry point could look like for them,” DePaula said. “Owning a digital share of some of LeBron’s greatest on-court sneaker moments, or adding a digital-exclusive colorway of an Off-White Jordan to your ‘digital closet’ would be a wild new path for things to head [in] and where the next decade may go.”