Athletic Footwear Sales Peak Leading Up to Back-to-School 2014 Surpasses Prior Years

Athletic Footwear Sales Peak Leading Up to Back-to-School 2014 Surpasses Prior Years

Athletic footwear sales rise every year among adults and especially among children in the weeks leading up to the start of school, with basketball footwear being the push behind this year’s increase, according to global information company The NPD Group.

The total athletic footwear market grew 3 percent, and children’s footwear alone grew 5 percent in the four weeks ending August 17. Children’s sales began to ramp up in mid-July and peaked the second week of August, which is the biggest month for children’s footwear sales, followed by December. This coincides with the two biggest shopping seasons of the year: holiday and back-to-school.

“In terms of back-to-school shopping priorities, parents view footwear as one of the early must-haves for their children, because shoes don’t usually survive for a second year. Kids either outgrow or wear out their shoes each year, unlike other items such as backpacks and lunchboxes. So, it’s no surprise that footwear is among the top items on the list of back-to-school necessities,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “While parents prioritize footwear, kids choose it based on brand, color, style, and overall lifestyle, especially when it comes to athletic footwear. Coinciding with the growing activewear trend of stylish comfort, athletic shoes are worn for every season and all occasions, not just for gym class and the playground, which enhances the need, want, and demand for athletic footwear among kids.”

The basketball-related footwear category in particular is capitalizing on this back-to-school trend, with a 70 percent jump in children’s basketball shoe sales during this time period. This category now represents 26 percent of the total children’s volume, up from 17 percent of sales in 2013 and 14 percent in 2012.

“Basketball-related footwear has been a dominant player in the athletic shoe market this year, with its success in terms of bright colors, unique style, innovation and new product launches, characteristics that capture the attention of kids as well as their parents. This footwear in particular is very appealing to kids, regardless of their lifestyle,” added Cohen.

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, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food / foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, and video games.  For more information, visit and Follow us on Twitter:@npdgroup.