Pop Quiz: Holiday Shopping Edition

Dec 25, 2022

Time for a pop quiz. We know, it’s been a while.

What is the top-selling women’s shoe on Amazon right now? (No cheating.)

Is it a nice Chelsea boot, Megan? A pair of those trendy On Cloud running shoes? A cozy pair of Uggs?

Nope.

The top two spots belong to the king of comfortable footwear: Crocs Inc. (CROX).

Nice job, ladies. The Crocs with the fur is a classic choice.

This Amazon status isn’t an anomaly — LikeFolio data supports a strong holiday season for CROX.

Here’s why we think the company has plenty of upside ahead.

1. CROX Expanded Its Portfolio with the Next ‘It’ Brand

Demand for a new pair of Crocs has risen significantly year-over-year (YoY), currently pacing 24% higher versus 2021 levels.

This is impressive, considering last year the company capped off a 2021 holiday season that generated more than $2 billion in revenue.

But even Crocs knows its iconic clog isn’t for everyone. In fact, another comfortable shoe design is surging in popularity among its own consumer base: HEYDUDE Shoes.

As a wise man once said, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

CROX completed its $2.5 billion acquisition of HEYDUDE earlier this year.

And LikeFolio data suggests it’s going well…

HEYDUDE brand buzz has more than doubled since the deal closed, currently pacing 65% higher YoY.

The HEYDUDE brand appeals to current Crocs wearers, but it also expands beyond the CROX audience. HEYDUDES are perceived as a “classy” upgrade to the rubber Croc. These are shoes you can get away with in the office, or even in church.

Last quarter, HEYDUDE brand revenue exceeded $260 million, 87% higher than it was a year ago. Current buzz growth shows the brand is still expanding its footprint.

And the best news? CROX doesn’t believe HEYDUDE is stealing market share from its namesake brand.

On its last earnings call, CROX noted:

If you look at the HEYDUDE consumer, they clearly have Crocs in their closet, right? So there is definitely a customer overlap. But they are buying the shoes for a different purpose, right? They see the wearing occasions as distinct. So we don’t today see a lot of trade-off between the brands and consumer purchasing.

2. Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Efforts Continue to Pay Off

In the third quarter, DTC comp sales grew by 18% YoY, driven by strength in the North American DTC channel and successful engagement with early-access sales events for product launches.

New user data shows this digital presence is still growing in North America.

Crocs.com and HEYDUDEShoes.com both recorded double-digit YoY growth from September through November of this year.

3. The Casualization of Office Dress Codes Is Here to Stay

High-level trend data reveals that the classic clog style isn’t going anywhere…

And an increasingly hybrid workplace is driving demand for comfortable work shoes that employees can wear at home OR in the office.

Most businesses have taken note — after all, according to a recent survey, more than 80% of people said they performed better at work when dressed comfortably, and 76% said casual work attire creates better connections between colleagues.

This plays right into Crocs’ hand.

Bottom Line: CROX is not immune to inflationary pressures plaguing other retailers, but growth prospects remain strong. Last quarter, Crocs’ revenue beat expectations but earnings per share (EPS) fell short. The company raised its full-year forecast, and LikeFolio data suggests that consumers still LOVE both brands under its umbrella.

CROX shares have surged since June lows under $50 per share. However, they remain well below highs achieved last November.

If the company can cap off a solid holiday season (and it looks like they’re about to), profits may be in store, once again, for long-term investors.