NPD Report: U.S. Footwear Sales To Stabilize, Bounce Back In 2021

NPD Report: U.S. Footwear Sales To Stabilize, Bounce Back In 2021

Lifestyle changes and consumer behavior shifts in 2020 due to COVID-19 drove year-over-year sales declines for the U.S footwear industry, but trends are expected to stabilize and recover through 2021, according to NPD’s Future of Footwear Report.

Improved fashion footwear and performance sales are forecasted to lead to increased dollar sales overall, but remain below 2019 levels.

The fashion category, hardest hit by COVID-19, is expected to see renewed sales in 2021 as consumers return to pre-pandemic shopping behavior. The women’s slippers category is likely to be a hot holiday item and remain strong in 2021 outperforming 2020 sales.

“A return to the office and store re-openings will likely reignite some demand for fashion footwear, although the focus will remain on casual and comfort-oriented styles. The pandemic has only amplified the importance of these attributes as the blending of work-from-home and remote learning has led consumers to favor comfort to wear any time of the day,” said Beth Goldstein, fashion footwear and accessories analyst, NPD.

Following a similar trajectory, after declines during the last two years, performance footwear is expected to grow in 2021 driven by road running shoes.

“Greater attention to health and fitness has been a silver lining in 2020. A number of sports and recreation-related categories have benefitted from this including performance running. In addition to easier year-over-year comparisons, which may factor into the growth, running shoes are poised to outperform the overall market as consumers continue turning to the activity to stay active yet socially distant.” said Matt Powell, sports industry advisor, NPD.

Forecast: Footwear sales will decline in the mid-single-digits in Q420. Cold weather boots and hiking shoes sold through well in August, up +49 percent and +24 percent, respectively, in August and September 2020 combined compared to last year.