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Knowledge At MET

Knowledge At MET

Exploring Consumer Attitude and Buying Behaviour towards Mens Formal Footwear

The research paper explores the consumer attitude and buying behaviour towards men's formal footwear. Quantitative data was collected through a survey tool and the qualitative data was collected through informal interviews and discussions. Convenient sample size of 100 middle management professionals from different organizations and varied sectors was selected for the research. The research recommendations focus on specifics related to the choices, buying preferences and price points.

Key words: Men's formal footwear, consumer attitude, buying behaviour

The global market for footwear is forecast to reach US $ 430 Billion by 2024, as reported by the Global Industry Analyst Inc. (Sep 2017). Global men formal shoe market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.2% from 2016 to 2022, to reach US $ 9,881 million by 2022. India's footwear industry is stepping towards a bigger and brighter future. Footwear exports from India have risen from ? 71.5 billion in FY10 to ? 180 billion in FY15. India is the second largest footwear producer in the world, with footwear production accounting for approximately 9% of the global annual production – 22 billion pairs as compared to China, which produces over 60% of the global production.

In India, footwear has evolved from being just a mere necessity as a protection for feet to an important accessory that ups one's fashion game. With the rising disposable incomes of the customers, India's domestic footwear market is booming. Rising incomes, advent of globalization, improved employment and living standards in the country has led to the expansion in the size of this market. The MD of a huge retail footwear chain states, “At present, men's category contributes around 60% of sales in the footwear segment as against women's share of 30%. Men's footwear market is growing at a CAGR of 10%. The women's segment, however, is growing at a much faster CAGR of 20%”.

Men - Formal Shoe Types
When it comes to different types of formal footwear, men have quite an assortment to choose from Brogues, Derby, Loafers, Oxfords, Wingtip, Monk straps are some of the popular formal shoes men prefer. The best brogues are the ones that can be mixed with smart and casual outfits to create a clean, sophisticated finish. The Oxford shoe is the ideal style for every formal situation. Due to the sleek shoe design, many businessmen wear a black oxford to go with their suit. The Oxford shoe is perfect to be worn at weddings, christenings, job interviews and basically any formal event. Black leather monk shoes are well suited to create that UBER formal look. A Derby is always recommended, if one is planning to have an everyday shoe. Plus if a person has a high instep or finds feet swelling during the day, they are ideal as they can be more easily adjusted to remain comfortable. A man can be dressed head to ankle in the best clothes, but if he chooses the wrong footwear his overall outfit can fall apart. The figure below explains formal and informal shoe matching styles.

Research Rationale
This research is undertaken with an objective to understand consumer behaviour and buying preferences related to Men's formal footwear.

Sample Size and Methodology:
The quantitative data was sourced and analysed for a convenient sample size of 100 middle management professionals from different organizations and varied sectors. The data collection was restricted to Mumbai. A qualitative data was also generated through structured but informal discussions with some corporate professionals.

Data Analysis
For this research the analysis of statistical data is represented in simple visual or pictorial representation such as charts and graphs. A pictorial representation has a better impact and long term recollection. Charts or graphs are supported by the corresponding explanation of the data.

Key Research Findings

  • 96% respondents believed that corporate grooming includes formal footwear whereas only 4% (mostly from the media / entertainment sector) do not believe in this concept.
  • In this survey, the majority of the people wearing formal footwear fall between the age group of 20-30 years.
  • People wear formal shoes at the corporate offices and in meetings for hours.
  • 67 % men wear formal shoes in their office for more than 7 hours a day.
  • Most men prefer black and brown colour shoes for their formal footwear.
  • There is a demand for comfortable, light weighted, eco-friendly, biodegradable formal shoes.
  • The most preferred brands are Bata, Aldo and Red Tape.
  • 37 % professionals buy shoes every 3 months, 31% professionals buy shoes every 6 months. The rest buy shoes only when they face any foot related issues or when their shoe wears out
  • 21% of professionals buy shoes ranging from ? 3000-4000. 10 % of professionals buy shoes ranging from ? 2000-3000.
  • More than 50% of professionals buy formal shoes ranging from ? 1500-2000
  • Top management and C- Suite professionals prefer to buy shoes ranging above ? 5000 and prefer shopping abroad.
  • 25% men reported that they suffer tired and painful soles, another 30% reported blisters and sweaty feet. Lower back pain and sprains too were some common footwear related challenges reported through the survey
  • 78% of the respondent's preferred to buy from retail stores rather than buying online.
  • Misconceptions and bad experiences related to online buying.


  • Formal footwear is a niche segment which has not been targeted strategically. Focused marketing and sales strategies for this segment must be considered.
  • Most professionals prefer buying after trying and hence point of sales must be both online and offline.
  • The price range for a good comfortable pair of formal shoes could range from ? 2000-4000. While Oxford and Brogues are the sought after styles, black and brown are the most preferred colours.
  • Brands must introduce new designs every 3-6 months because most frequency of shoe shopping is between 3-6 months.Comfortable, lightweight, sustainable, eco-friendly, biodegradable are the new buzzwords in the footwear world.
  • Choosing your perfect formal footwear’, workshops and awareness sessions could be conducted through experts on the corporate premises to enhance awareness and thereby create captive customers.
  • Enhancing the ease of online shopping and clearing the related misconceptions (exchange/ refund etc.)


Authored by
Dr. Farida Virani
MET, Mumbai

Mr. Darshan Haria
MMS Student - MET, Mumbai

Ms. Mansi Patil
MMS Student - MET, Mumbai

Tags: MET Institute of Management