NPD Details Declines in Footwear, Accessories

While the apparel industry continues to experience consistent growth, the trend-driven footwear and fashion accessories industries are experiencing sales declines, keeping overall retail fashion sales even with results from the prior year, according to The NPD Group.

April 6, 2018

NPD Details Declines in Footwear, Accessories

Sales declines occurred both in-store and online.

While the apparel industry continues to experience consistent growth, the trend-driven footwear and fashion accessories industries are experiencing sales declines, keeping overall retail fashion sales even with results from the prior year, according to The NPD Group.

In the 12 months ending February 2016, the U.S. footwear industry has declined 1 percent to $65 billion, driven by in-store losses.

Meanwhile, fashion accessories sales dropped 7 percent, to $51 billion during this period, with declines occurring both online and in-store. The fashion accessories industry did see sales growth in categories like luggage and backpacks; however, the handbag category lost more than $1 billion in sales between March 2016 and February 2017.

Furthermore, NPD reports that these declines occurred while segments of the Millennial generation increased their spending on footwear, fashion accessories and apparel.

“The losses happening within footwear and fashion accessories are leading indicators of the fundamental

changes occurring within the whole of fashion at retail,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Consumers tend to build their wardrobes through accessories and footwear, giving their outfit a fresh look, so when sales of either of these industries slow or decline it signals a decline in fashion as a priority.”

Additionally, the fashion segment, which represents more than 40 percent of annual footwear dollar sales, has also experience challenges, and is currently down 6 percent from the 12 months ending February 2016.

“The active influences that drove apparel did not impact the total accessories and footwear businesses in the same way–while fashion athletic and retro sneakers worked well, consumers continued to be presented with the same non-athletic inspired fashion footwear and bags,” says Cohen. “The overall scope of today’s fashion innovation needs to reach beyond one audience or one set of consumer demands, but also be prepared to move with new influences as they take shape.”  

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