NPD sales and trend research show that athletic footwear sales rose in the low single digits in 2019, and that fourth quarter category sales were paced by gains from non-performance sneakers and cold weather boots.
“Fall and holiday sales successes in ankle boots and slippers, along with big items from brands like Crocs and Dr. Martens, couldn’t compensate for the losses in fashion footwear, as the category continues to lose share to sport leisure,” said Beth Goldstein, fashion footwear & accessories analyst for The NPD Group.
NPD sales tracking data for the Oct.-Dec. 2019 period shows flat U.S. fashion footwear sales at $3.9 billion, but a 5 percent increase in U.S. leisure footwear sales to $4.7 billion, paced by 9 percent growth in women’s to $1.7 billion. Meanwhile, fourth-quarter performance footwear sales declined 2 percent to $1.56 billion, with the men’s category down 4 percent to $824.3 million.
Sizing up 2019 for the athletic footwear category, NPD’s Matt Powell said the lack of a “true hot item” impacted the category’s annual results, and predicted that 2020 should result in more of the same. His findings showed negative results for the top five women’s brands, but he called the segment the industry’s “greatest challenge and its greatest opportunity.”
Category-wise, performance basketball shoe sales dipped in the low teens in 2019 and now represent less than 5 percent of all athletic shoes sold. Performance running shoe sales slipped in the low single digits, with hiking shoes and cold weather boot sales coming in flat for the 12 months and skate shoe sales up low teens in 2019. Among 2019 brand highlights, according to NPD: Nike achieved a low-single digit increase for the year; Adidas footwear, impacted by changing Yeezy releases, fell mid-single digits; Vans’ sales jumped more than 20 percent; Brooks sales were up in the low teens; and Puma and Fila each posted solid sales gains.