Vans vs. Converse: A Revuze Case Study
There are plenty of examples of big brand rivalries in today’s market. XBox vs Playstation. Pepsi vs Coca-Cola. Marvel vs DC. You’ve probably come across one or two of them in your spare time, and might even have a side which you’ll take no matter what.
The winning question is, have you ever analyzed the data available on these brands to objectively compare them? It’s doubtful that many people have, and in fact most have a habit of blindly sticking by the first choice they make. They just don’t have the time to look that deeply, needing to make decisions on the fly.
Settling the Dispute: Vans vs. Converse
Here at Revuze, we decided to take that question – which one is better – and apply it to the Vans vs Converse debate. It’s one you might not have heard of, given that its relative niche in the casual footwear industry isn’t relevant to most people, but amongst the younger, trendier folks it’s a big discussion.
So, what did we find out? We used our consumer insights engine to analyze thousands of reviews over time to give you a more detailed look at the ongoing trends, rather than just a snapshot that might not represent the full details of such a volatile market.
The star rating of a product is the average out of five that reviewers rank products.
As seen in these numbers, the star ratings of Vans and Converse are fairly similar. These numbers are the values for the brand as a whole rather than comparing specific products – which you can do in our product insight engine Sentimate – and so are perfect for our overall brand analysis.
From the star rating we don’t have much to go on besides a slight edge to the Converse, so it’s time to dig deeper.
Net Promoter Score
Both Vans and Converse have their advocates. It’s a tactic that brands involved in such a rivalry use to their advantage, getting consumers to do the legwork for them by loudly talking about how superior one brand is to the other, and how they would never think of using such an inferior product. How much promotion they each get from their respective audiences is termed their net promoter score.
When we look at the NPS ratings, it’s clear that Vans have the advantage in terms of current score. However, you’ll see that their score is decreasing over time within the six month period examined, whereas Converse have a slightly lower but rising score. Keep in mind that those two graphs use different scales (out of necessity).
The drop in Vans NPS rating coincided with the release of their Autism Awareness range, so maybe there’s a bit of politics in there. It also coincided with the release of Converse’s genderless appeal campaign and dabbling with CX tech, so it may be attributed to them falling behind the times rather than a backlash from those who hate new things.
However when one remembers that the COVID-19 pandemic struck in full force around March 2020, it’s possible that the change in consumer opinions came from a different source. It’s likely a multitude of factors were involved.
Reviews: Fit Matters
When it comes to shoes, there are a few things that stick out. Reviewers were particularly interested in the way they fit, which makes sense as that affects how comfortable they are. The top findings in this area for each brand are below.
- “She thought slide-ons would be too loose, but she says they fit perfectly and are just the right tightness.”
- “They fit good and they are so pretty and comfortable but I prefer a more snug fit in my toe area, that was the only part of the shoe that was too loose for me..”
- “I was disappointed not in the shoe but they are way too small I wear 8 and 1/2 regular and a 9 is always too big and most shoes so that’s what I ordered but way too small order a size and a half to one full size bigger and you be happy”
- “I wouldn’t recommend for anyone with wider feet as they always seem to run a bit on the narrow side.”
- “Comparing to all my other size 11 converse the shoe fit quite tight and rather uncomfortable and also the white souls are more yellowish white than pure white”
- “Really love these shoes. They do seem a bit narrow, but that works well for me. I dont lace them as much as I would other tennis shoes. Perfect for a casual look or the dress up a bit.”
As we can see, the Vans have a bit of an edge when it comes to how well they fit a user, which correlates to their overall higher NPS.
Converse seems to have an issue with being narrow, with the introduction of their stretch-fit technology being an example of when a company listens and responds to their customer base.
Conclusion: The Final Tally
So, it all comes down to the question we asked in the beginning – which is better?
Looking purely at the data, Converse seem to have the edge when it comes to reputation, though they do also have issues when it comes to fitting and overall sizing. While that might change in the next few years with their new improvements, we’re talking about the data available now so that’s a mark against them.
Conversely (pun intended) the Vans have an overall better fit in customer opinion, with the sizing issue being relatively minor. They might not shout as loudly as their rival, but they deliver higher quality products in return.
From this, we can see that while Converse might have a slightly higher reputation and NPS, it’s all talk and no walk, since these shoes aren’t ones you’d want to pull on. The Vans have a better reputation when it comes to comfort and sizing, with the overall NPS
Overall result: Vans 2 : Converse 1.