This article explores the phenomenon of the resale of sneakers at a significant profit. Some entrepreneurs have built successful businesses and others engage in this activity as a hobby.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Marketing, promotion, entrepreneurship

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What is the impact of disruption in the marketplace?

New Terminology:

Reseller, arbitrage, sneakernomics, profiteers, supply and demand, niche, bot, disruption

Materials needed:

Copies of the article

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Students will explore how a disruptive business model can change the landscape of an industry.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Ask students if they ever shop at consignment stores. If so, what products are they looking for?
  • As a class, use a T chart to discuss the merits of consignment and its drawbacks.
  • Distribute the article for reading.
  • In pairs, have students differentiate between a reseller and a consignment shop. Explore what is meant by the sneaker after-market.
  • The article states that the industry is maturing. What does that mean? Review the life cycle of a product or industry. Brainstorm the signs that an industry is maturing.
  • Ask students to write a brief from a manufacturer outlining their position towards resellers.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • In pairs, have students draw a chart with the flow of high-demand sneakers from manufacturer to reseller.  How is this the same as or different from other products? Choose two as examples.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students understand supply and demand and the impact on consumers.

Confirming Activity:

  • Ask students what a disruption is. Explore several examples. How is the resale sneaker business a disruption? Ask them: What is a bot? Have students encountered a bot? Why is a bot technology considered disruptive?