The iconic boot brand, Dr Martens – once a favourite of punks and goths, and now popularised by celebrity fans including Pharrell Williams and Rita Ora – posted profits up 70% in the year to the end of March 2019. Its owner, private equity firm Permira, is reportedly eyeing a possible sale or stock market flotation this week.
Dr Martens on the march
The boot brand attributed the jump in profits to a dedicated focus on its direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategy, with D2C sales up 42% year-on-year, accounting for 44% of sales – and uptake of its vegan range of boots.
Vegan boots bolster sales
Playing into the rising demand among consumers for more ethically and sustainably sourced goods, its vegan range, which replaces the leather upper with a synthetic polyurethane plastic, has increased by multiple hundreds of percent in the last few years and now represents 4% of Dr Martens’ total sales.
And Dr Martens isn’t the only brand whose vegan ranges has seen them going into the green – the launch of Greggs’ now infamous vegan ‘sausage’ roll back in January saw same-store sales rise 10.5%, helping the retailer carve out new customer segments and contributing to the bakery chain’s 15% sales jump to £546 million in the six months to June.
Growing appetite for vegan foods
It’s also a trend we’ve seen the grocers jumping on, with the launch of Morrisons’ V Tasty and Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen ranges – and, according to Marketing Week, last year the UK launched more vegan products than any other nation, making it the country’s fastest growing culinary trend of 2018 with a market worth of £310 million.
Sustainability is increasingly in the consumer psyche – from Extinction Rebellion protests garnering headlines to changing consumer attitudes. Recent research from Yotpo suggested 46% of fashion shoppers had bought clothing to support a mission, with charity being the cause that most resonated (56%), followed by sustainability (49%) and diversity (36%). It appears retailers and brands are fast recognising that products that promote the greater good can also be good for business.
Image credit: Dr Martens