Home Blog 2018 Fashionable and Functional Holiday for Footwear
Nov 14, 2018

A Fashionable and Functional Holiday for Footwear

Subscribe to our blog

Fashion footwear gained momentum heading into Q4, which leaves me with a positive outlook for the holiday season. The U.S. market grew six percent in Q3, driven mainly by the sport leisure category, but there has also been a turnaround in categories including sandals and, more recently, cold/all weather boots. Tied to my expectation that these styles will perform well, I believe that the brands and retailers that speak to the consumer priorities below will be successful this holiday. 


Active and Comfort

Fashion sneakers have driven half of the fashion footwear market’s growth so far this year, and I expect this category to remain very important through holiday. But, its growth rate slowed in Q3, and heading into holiday boots seem primed to regain some share. In addition, while consumers will look to get dressed up for holiday festivities, comfort is the key word. Brands that are incorporating fashion along with athletic and comfort elements will win. 



The Danish concept of hygge has fully taken hold in the U.S. Slipper sales were up double digits in Q3*, and I expect similar results for holiday as retailers promote loungewear and family pajamas. Cold weather and winter/snow boots will also benefit from this trend, even if the winter isn’t quite as cold and snowy as we’d like. And, even fashion items with a bit of fluffy detail will evoke those same feelings of comfort and coziness. 


Versatility and Travel

Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high, which bodes well for retailers this holiday season. But, consumers are still making very deliberate decisions when it comes to spending their money. According to NPD’s annual Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, around one-third of consumers plan to utilize consumer reviews to learn more about products this holiday season and/or plan to rely on recommendations from friends/family/co-workers. The value equation is top of mind, and retailers and brands that offer functional and versatile options such as waterproofing, indoor/outdoor wear, and/or multi-season use will be tapping into this need. Products marketed specifically to improve the travel experience (lightweight, multi-occasion wear) will stand out as well. Digitally native brands with strong social media presence are uniquely poised to attract consumer attention to these elements.


Year-to-date through September, 29 percent of fashion footwear sales have been generated online. I expect this penetration to increase by three to five percentage points during holiday as retailers such as Target and Amazon are upping their free shipping game, and others will likely follow-suit. Gifting programs such as GiftNow are rolling out and will make it easier to gift a specific footwear item by eliminating the risk of sending an unwanted item or wrong size. In addition, according to our Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, almost one-in-four Millennials reported that they plan to use their smartphone most often to do their holiday shopping. This is convenience at its best, and will surely drive the online business this season.   


Source: The NPD Group/Consumer Tracking Service

*Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service

Stay current in your industry

Related Blog Posts

Tagged: Footwear

Sneakernomics: What Does the NBA-China News Mean for Sports Brands?
Sneakernomics: What Does the NBA-China News Mean for Sports Brands?

NPD’s Matt Powell offers his analysis of the NBA-China dilemma and what the potential implications are for sports brands.

The Year in Footwear, So Far
The Year in Footwear, So Far

NPD Footwear Industry Analyst Beth Goldstein looks at trends such as "Buy Now, Wear Now" and sustainability that continue to be hot topics among industry insiders.

Sneakernomics: Checking in on the Run Specialty Market
Sneakernomics: Checking in on the Run Specialty Market

According to NPD’s Matt Powell, Hoka One One and On Running are two brands within the run specialty channel that are showing strong growth and boosting results within that market. Another brand the market should keep an eye on is Oofos; they are trending nicely in run specialty, and in his opinion could be the next big comfort brand.

Where Will the Payless Sales Go?
Where Will the Payless Sales Go?

After the going out of business sales are over, the most likely beneficiaries of Payless’s demise will be Walmart and, to a lesser extent, Target, followed by Kohl’s. According to NPD’s Checkout, almost half of Payless footwear in-store buyers also bought footwear at Walmart in 2018. Twenty percent also bought from Target, and coming in third was Kohl’s, though Kohl’s average price per pair is approximately double that of Payless


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.