Smaller running brands such as On, Hoka, Puma and Reebok surged in the fourth quarter, driving gains in the performance footwear category.
That’s according to the NPD Group Inc., which shared its fourth quarter shoe sales data and information with FN.
According to the report, performance footwear sales in the United States rose 12% to $1.8 billion from $1.6 billion in 2019. Athletic brands focused on running, hiking and walking “were among the biggest gainers” in the fourth quarter, explained Matt Powell, senior industry adviser for sports at NPD Group, in the report. However, certain factors also hindered the category’s growth during the quarter.
“Oversupply in 2021, supply chain issues, and lack of newness to market were all factors that hurt the overall U.S. athletic footwear business in the fourth quarter. “Powell said.
Big brands like Nike and Adidas that depend on China and Vietnam for production were hit hard as lockdowns and factory shutdowns swept through the two regions over the summer. These shutdowns hurt overall unit production and, in some cases, caused product shortages in certain markets.
U.S. casual footwear sales edged up 2% to $5.6 billion from $5.5 billion in 2019.
“The main reason for the slowdown in the leisure footwear category was due to the weaker trend of major brands such as Nike, Jordan and Adidas,” Powell said.
Higher selling prices due to inflation helped balance out the overall decline in unit sales, leading to overall growth in the US footwear market in the fourth quarter. In December, shoe prices were up 6% year over year. It’s the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year increases and the fourth highest year-over-year growth in more than 32 years, according to footwear distributors and retailers. America (FDRA). For the full year, footwear rose 3.7%, the largest annual increase in 32 years.
Fashion footwear sales fell in the fourth quarter to $4.5 billion, down 4% from $4.7 billion in 2019, with lower sales in the women’s category being the cause of the decline.
“As consumers anticipated more gatherings and activities, the fashion footwear segment accounted for most of the growth over the 2020 holiday season,” said fashion footwear and accessories analyst at Beth Goldstein NDP.
Goldstein added that sales of “dressier silhouettes” were below 2019 levels as consumers continued to gravitate towards casual and comfortable options like sneakers, slippers and clogs. According to NPD data, Crocs was the sixth best-selling shoe brand in the fourth quarter, up from nineteenth in the fourth quarter of 2019.
NPD’s recent Future of Footwear study found that more than 50% of consumers wear casual sneakers to work away from home, compared to less than 20% who wear dress shoes, suggesting casual will continue. to dominate sales, while dressier styles might be slower to come back. .