The NPD Group Reports Annual Athletic Footwear Sales Up 4%; Key Categories Post Double-Digit Dollar Growth

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The athletic footwear industry saw positive growth in 2012 according to The NPD Group, Inc., a global information company. U.S. athletic footwear* generated $13.8 billion in sales in 2012, an increase of over four percent in dollars, compared to $13.2 billion in 2011.

Total unit sales were fairly flat, and the growth in dollar sales was driven by the increase in the average selling price.

Athletic footwear categories cross training, basketball, classics, and running shoes, grew in both dollar and unit sales in 2012, compared to 2011.

Chart 1
Source: The NPD Group / Retail POS Tracking Service

“Today’s consumer typically will search for a deal while shopping for athletic footwear, but there are exceptions to that rule. When it comes to buying a new and innovative pair of shoes, consumers will spend more,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.

While the men’s wearer segment continues to be the largest revenue driver in the athletic footwear industry, (representing 51 percent of the total market and up six percent in dollar sales), it’s the children’s wearer segment that saw the fastest dollar growth rate in 2012.

Chart 2
Source: The NPD Group / Retail POS Tracking Service

Even though sales of total women’s athletic footwear declined, positive growth was found in the sales of women’ s cross training (+30%) and running shoes (+12%).

“The casual cold weather boot, which drove the women’s athletic footwear category two years ago, continued to decline in popularity in 2012,” said Cohen. “The industry is now focused on lightweight running shoes, which is good news for the women’s market since they continue to purchase them. In 2013, we will see new styles and colors pop up to lure consumers, but especially the women in hopes to drive that part of the market up,” said Cohen.

*The NPD Group / Retail POS Tracking Service: Athletic Specialty/Sporting Goods, National Chain, Shoe Chain, and Department Stores

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. By combining unique data assets with unmatched industry expertise, we help our clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth. Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food / foodservice, home, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, visit

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