Allbirds simplifies growth drivers to three trends
In the prospectus for its initial public offering, Allbirds said its underlying growth will be driven by three trends influencing how consumers make their purchase decisions in apparel and footwear: purpose-driven positioning, casualization and omnichannel retail.
- Brands that are responsible and purpose-driven. The eco-friendly footwear brand cites a number of surveys showing consumers, particularly younger generations, becoming increasingly focused on product origins and buying from companies that share their values. Many incumbent footwear and apparel brands are held back by their reliance on synthetic materials, mostly plastic, as well as “compressed margins” due to wholesale distribution. Allbirds wrote, “We are able to take a fresh approach by building naturally beautiful products from the molecular level up, directly sourcing and innovating through our materials, and offering customers ‘more shoe for their buck’ through our vertical distribution strategy. Our brand’s natural performance products uniquely address both (1) health and wellness and (2) sustainability, enabling consumers to perform their best while also treading lighter on the planet.”
- Great products that adapt to the “new normal”: Allbirds believes the shift toward casualization has been accelerated by the pandemic with the lines “blurred between work, home, gym, and play.” Increasing versatility in wardrobes is required for a variety of use occasions. Allbirds said, “As workplaces continue to move towards a more casual and/or remote environment, we believe consumers will place more value on versatility and comfort.”
- A seamless, cross-channel buying experience that delivers value and convenience: The digital-first retailer said consumers are increasingly looking for the ability to interact with brands both digitally and physically. In 2020, online accounted for 89 percent of sales, but Allbirds now has 30 stores after opening its first in 2017 and believes it’s in the “early phase of a ramp towards hundreds of potential locations.”
The San Francisco-based upstart concluded, “Allbirds was founded with and has grown with these consumer trends in mind, and we believe we stand perfectly at their intersection. These trends have moved faster than any of us could have expected, and we believe this positions us to be successful for years to come.”
- Allbirds, Inc. Initial Public Offering Prospectus – Allbirds/Securities & Exchange Commission
- Sneaker Maker Allbirds Files for IPO – Wall Street Journal
- Sustainable shoemaker Allbirds files for US IPO – Financial Times
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which of the three trends cited in the article — purpose-driven positioning, casualization or omnichannel retail — will be most important in driving Allbirds’ growth in the years ahead? Are you as confident as Allbirds that these trends will guide purchase decisions in apparel and footwear?