NPD: Leisure Footwear Sales Slump 15 Percent In First Quarter

NPD: Leisure Footwear Sales Slump 15 Percent In First Quarter

U.S. sales of leisure footwear, which includes many of the industry’s athletic-lifestyle and outdoor categories, were down 15 percent in the first quarter, according to the NPD Group. Fashion footwear tumbled 24 percent and the smaller sport-specific performance footwear category declined 19 percent.

Total U.S. leisure footwear sales reached $3.4 billion against $2.9 billion, a decline of 15 percent. Men’s sales in the category were down 15 percent, women’s were off 14 percent, and children fell 17 percent.

Total U.S. fashion footwear sales reached $2.4 billion against $1.8 billion, representing a decline of 24 percent. Sales were down 23 percent in men’s, 25 percent in women’s and 16 percent in children.

Sport-specific performance footwear sales were off 19 percent to $1.6 billion from $1.3 billion. Sales were down 20 percent in men’s, 14 percent in women and 22 percent in children.

“The spring sports-related categories were hit hard in Q1 as most of these sports have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic – baseball, soccer, and golf shoe dollar sales declined an average of 30 percent. Performance basketball, as well as running shoes, also declined, although anecdotally the word on the street is that more people are running today in the absence of gyms and fitness centers. I’ll be watching closely to see if the stimulus checks have a positive impact on athletic footwear sales,” said Matt Powell, Senior Industry Advisor, Sports at The NPD Group.

“Consumers showed some splurging for work-at-home comfort as slippers were the only fashion footwear growth category in Q1. Although unit sales were down, dollar sales growth was driven by sales of premium product. Sandals were the hardest hit, down over 30% for the quarter and double that for March, despite promotional activity that accelerated quickly once retailers shut their doors. As March came to a close, categories aside from slippers that are relevant to life-at-home showed slight growth over the prior week, including sport slides, flip flops, hiking footwear, and mule/clogs – driven by the continued strength of Crocs,” said Beth Goldstein, Fashion Footwear & Accessories Analyst at The NPD Group.