How Crocs made an unlikely comeback

The colorful Crocs are back. After a few difficult years, the producer of the rubber clogs is firmly in his shoes. “Some people love them, others hate them. The company has taken advantage of that.’

Whatever you think of the colorful clogs, Crocs have made an astonishing advance in recent years. Even during the lockdown in March and April 2020, there was an increase in sales. Crocs had revenue of $965 million in the second quarter of 2022, according to company figures. That is an increase of 55 percent compared to last year. According to the market research firm NPD Group, which tracks thirty major shoe brands, turnover in 2021 even increased by 67 percent compared to the previous year. That was more than what the company expected.

However, things went steeply downhill with Crocs for a while before that. The 2016 figures were so disappointing that the American company was forced to close 158 stores.

Post Malone’s design for Crocs

Photo: rr

Post Malone, Justin Bieber and Balenciaga

Meanwhile, demand for Crocs is “greater than ever,” said Andrew Rees, Ribatt’s successor. How could the company that was virtually bankrupt make such a comeback? On the one hand, reference is made to the corona pandemic. Working from home became the norm and many people opted for the comfortable shoe.

On the other hand, the brand had been working with celebrities for several years to boost its popularity again.

Crocs with heels: Balenciaga has something to offer.

Photo: rr

In 2018, it teamed up with rapper Post Malone, who designed his own shoe. This was followed by a design by singer Justin Bieber, which sold out within minutes. Crocs has also mixed with high fashion several times. Crocs collaborated twice with luxury brand Balenciaga: in 2018, Crocs with high soles, in 2021 Crocs with heels. That first collection sold out immediately, despite a price tag of $850 per pair.

How Crocs made an unlikely comeback

On the catwalk with Christopher Kane.

Photo: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

So, the company’s strategy mainly involves celebrity and social media promotion, with influencers also posting videos on Tiktok and Instagram showing how they style the clogs. Crocs also made some acquisitions — including of Jibbitz, a manufacturer of accessories that fit the holes of Crocs shoes — that allowed the company to move in a more fashion-oriented direction and encourage self-expression through the Crocs. And new products are added all the time, such as sandals and handbags.

That was also what CEO Andres Rees wanted to achieve with the company: Crocs had to be fashionable as well as comfortable. With this bold move, Crocs reinvented itself as hip footwear. “Some people love them, others hate them. But that’s what Crocs are known for. The company has taken advantage of that,” said Erinn Murphy, an analyst at investment bank Piper Sandler.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Crocs comeback

NEXT Panic at large companies: ‘Stopping production or moving, it can no longer be ruled out’