Sneaker influencers are seeing unexpected wins as the coronavirus pummels the $2 billion resale market
- Sneaker influencers are getting a boost in engagement amid the coronavirus outbreak.
- As more people stay home to work and attend classes online, content creators have a bigger opportunity to reach more people on their devices.
- "They'll probably stop buying shoes. But they won't stop watching other people buy shoes or talk about shoes," Jerry Wu, the head of Sneaker Con China, told Business Insider.
- "As tragic as the situation is, this is the best time for us because everyone's sitting at home, bored," said Michael Mitchell, also known as MikeTheCompass, a "shoetuber" who earns thousands of dollars a month on YouTube from posting videos about sneakers.
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The coronavirus pandemic is hitting many levels of the sneaker industry, from production to resale.
But one sector on the periphery of the $2 billion resale market is actually getting a boost: sneaker influencers. As more people stay home to work and attend classes online, content creators on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram have a unique opportunity to connect with the growing number of people in need of a distraction on their devices.
"As tragic as the situation is, this is the best time for us because everyone's sitting at home, bored," Michael Mitchell, a "shoetuber" who says he makes thousands of dollars a month on YouTube from posting videos about sneakers, told Business Insider.
Mitchell, also know as MikeTheCompass, is part of a growing movement of "shoetubers," or YouTube influencers who make money from videos about reselling sneakers. He's had brand partnerships with companies like Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Foot Locker, and Champs and also makes money through Google's AdSense program.
"They are pretty much the winners in the crisis," Jerry Wu, the head of Sneaker Con China, told Business Insider.
Wu, who works with high-level content creators for Sneaker Con events and social media campaigns, said that since people across the globe are staying at home now, it's no surprise that more and more people have been jumping onto TikTok and other social media platforms to occupy their time.
Adaptability is key
For those who have managed to continue to put out content in this time, the boost in traffic has been notable. Wu said that some of the influencers he has spoken to have had significantly better traffic and a notable follower increase in the last couple of months.
"They'll probably stop buying shoes," Wu said of the audience for sneaker influencers. "But they won't stop watching other people buy shoes or talk about shoes."
He added that a lot of successful creators have been able to adapt their content to confront the situation at hand.
"A lot of the content creators, originally they've been doing unboxing[s] for shoes and streetwear," Wu said.
Now that the coronavirus is on everyone's minds, many creators have changed their strategies to focus on issues related to the outbreak and the resale market as a whole.
To Mitchell, the increase in free time and the high demand for content makes now a perfect time for wannabe content creators to hunker down and start achieving their goals. He said this is true for sneaker-related and non-sneaker-related content creators.
"This time period is going to make a lot of people successful that just take action," Mitchell said.
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