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NPD: A Seismic Shift May Be Underway for Footwear Market


In its first quarter review of footwear sales and trends, The NPD Group suggests “a seismic shift” in the industry may be beginning with up-and-coming brands and new styles and technologies gaining traction and top, more established footwear brands showing softness. With Q2 ushering in more pre-pandemic behaviors, the research firm said there will be sales improvement on the fashion side and an athletic business driven by interest in fitness and the outdoors. Nonetheless, The NPD Group sees macro pressures on the consumer combined with tough year-over-year comparisons stemming growth.

Among the Q1 highlights in NPD’s quarterly review:

  • Women’s footwear sales rose 4 percent with the higher average selling prices (ASP) fueling the gain. Men’s footwear sales declined 6 percent and children’s fell 12 percent.
  • In the sports leisure footwear segment, Q1 revenue declined mid-teens with units off in the high teens and ASPs up mid-single digits. Sales from retro styles dipped on weakness from Nike, Jordan, and Adidas. Nike sport leisure sales were down bout 25 percent while Jordan and Adidas sales fell in the mid-teens. New Balance sales grew approximately 25 percent.
  • Fashion footwear sales—dress, casual, and slippers, increased 11 percent as units fell 11 percent. Slippers was the only segment to post unit growth. Dress shoes remained soft compared to 2019 despite accounting for two-thirds of the category’s growth.
  • Performance footwear sales outperformed the overall footwear market in Q1. Revenue rose slightly, units increased in the low-single digits and ASPs declined slightly. Running shoes represented the largest portion of the segment despite a slight y-o-y dip in revenues.
  • Outdoor footwear revenues dipped mid-single digits with unit sales falling high-single digits. ASPs grew mid-single digits. Timberland, Keen, Skechers, and private label brands had solid growth. UGG sales were off mid-single digit; Columbia sales were down slightly, and Merrell fell by mid-teens.
  • Work, occupational and safety footwear sales were 10 percent higher in Q1 with sneaker silhouettes accounting for nearly 90 percent of the growth. Boots declined in the low single-digits y-o-y but were up in the teens versus 2019.