Nike, Jordan, Adidas and Under Armour are among the best-selling brands.
NORTH AMERICA–Supported by the athleisure fashion trend, sports leisure is now the largest category in athletic footwear, according to The NPD Group.
In 2017, the U.S. athletic footwear industry grew 2 percent to $19.6 billion. The sports leisure category increased by 17 percent for $9.6 billion in sales. The fastest growing in footwear categories were running inspired at 39 percent, and casual athletic at 24 percent.
The women’s category grew the fastest at 5 percent, while men’s (the largest segment) and kids grew by 1 percent each.
“While promotions helped drive sales in 2017 and the product mix kept the average selling price flat, it was a double-edged sword for the industry, as its performance was not as healthy as in more recent years,” says Matt Powell, senior industry advisor, sports, The NPD Group. “Brands and retailers need to change their course of action to achieve long-term growth. Adopting solutions in their marketing and product development will give the industry an important boost in 2018, and set it on the right track moving forward.”
Meanwhile performance sales declined by 10 percent for $7.4 billion in sales. Running shoes also declined by 7 percent and training sales were down 15 percent.
“I often get asked whether the bubble around leisure will burst anytime soon, and the answer is no,” says Powell. “There is not a single performance shoe in the top ten list for 2017, which illustrates the sportswear fashion cycle we are in. Athleisure rules the runway, and the line between what is an athletic shoe and a casual shoe continues to blur. Brands and retailers must continue to feed this trend.”
The report also found that Nike/Brand Jordan, Adidas, Skechers, Under Armour and New Balance were the top-selling brands based on dollar sales in 2017. Adidas was the fastest-growing player in the market overall, with growth over 50 percent.
Sales generated during Q3 and Q4 were on par with the same period in 2016, as both coincide with the back-to-school and holiday season. Q4 grew by 4 percent compared to the same period in 2016.