Home Blog Why Q1 Did Not Bode Well for U.S. Athletic Footwear Sales
May 3, 2017

Sneakernomics: Why Q1 Did Not Bode Well for U.S. Athletic Footwear Sales

Subscribe to our blog

Contrary to the positive overall results we saw in the first quarter of 2015 and 2016, Q1 was a mixed bag that left the total U.S. athletic footwear market down 3 percent for the first three months of 2017. Unit sales were down 2 percent and average selling price was down 1 percent for the quarter.

A warmer-than-last-year January started things off on a positive note, but the delayed EITC tax refunds crushed February as I predicted, as well as colder weather for the month versus 2016. Weak NBA All-Star Game sales also hurt the month. As a result, February sales were down in the mid-teens – the worst monthly performance in memory. March started off well, as the refund checks began to flow, but Easter’s shift to April hurt the end of the month.

For the quarter, men’s athletic footwear sales declined by 3 percent, kids’ sales we down 6 percent, and the women’s market remained flat.

The casual athletic category was a big bright spot for the industry in Q1, with sales up 36 percent versus the prior year, and over 20 percentage points greater than Q1 2016. Classics experienced an 11 percent increase, but this growth was well off the previous trend. The running category struggled in Q1, with sales down 5 percent. Weather shoulders part of the blame. Spring sports were off to a poor start – baseball and soccer footwear sales were each down by more than 20 percent.

In terms of channel performance, shoe chains fared the best of any channel, with sales up in the low single-digits, but this was well off the previous trend. Athletic specialty/sporting goods was again the channel to perform the weakest, with sales down in the mid-single digits. Department stores and national chains both declined in the low single-digits.

Nike, Inc. sales declined in the high single-digits for the quarter. The brand is still facing challenges in basketball, running, and cross training. Adidas sales grew nearly 85 percent, as the brand continues to double-down in the running and casual categories. The growth rate in classics slowed on the anniversary of the big Adidas push into the market last year. Under Armour (UA) athletic footwear sales declined double-digits in Q1, though the brand’s expansion into national chains helped offset significant losses in the athletic specialty/sporting goods channel.

The top-selling styles for Q1 based on dollar sales were the Jordan VI, Nike Air Huarache, Adidas Superstar, Jordan XIII, and Jordan IV.

I expect that the second quarter will be better than the first, with the late tax refund impact over and the late Easter/spring break taken into account. The market still has some Sports Authority liquidation hurdles to overcome, which will temper results somewhat.



Stay current in your industry
SUBSCRIBE

Related Blog Posts

Tagged: Sports , Footwear


Make Way for the Anglers
Make Way for the Anglers

Fishing has established itself as a growth driver for the U.S. paddlesports market, but is also emerging as a focus of growth for the broader specialty outdoor market. Dirk explains how, and why, fishing apparel and equipment are making their way into more stores that once avoided the category.

Sneakernomics: Back-to-School 2019 Athletic Footwear Trends
Sneakernomics: Back-to-School 2019 Athletic Footwear Trends

NPD’s sports industry advisor Matt Powell offers up his perspective on how the back-to-school season of today differs from years past, and what athletic footwear brands and products are trending this year.

Sneakernomics: Athletic Footwear and Activewear’s Performance in the 1st Half of 2019
Sneakernomics: Athletic Footwear and Activewear’s Performance in the 1st Half of 2019

NPD Sports Industry Analyst Matt Powell reviews the performance of athletic footwear and activewear categories during the first six months of 2019. From sport and performance footwear to athletic attire and more, this performance review takes a look at where the industry currently stands and could potentially be heading.

Sneakernomics: First Half 2019 Team Sports, Golf and Fitness Equipment
Sneakernomics: First Half 2019 Team Sports, Golf and Fitness Equipment

Given all the headwinds in team sports and golf, the industry fared better than expected in the first half of 2019. In this post, Sports Industry Analyst Matt Powell breaks down increases and declines from the first half of the year.

Newsletter

Subscribe and get key market trends and insights relevant to your industry each month.

We will not sell your information. View privacy notice.

Follow Us

© The NPD Group, Inc.