Home Blog 2018 Athletic Footwear and Activewear Q3 Results
Oct 29, 2018

Sneakernomics: Athletic Footwear and Activewear Q3 Results

Subscribe to our blog

The U.S. athletic footwear industry grew its dollar sales a healthy 4 percent in the third quarter of 2018, which I am pleased to report was better than I had anticipated. The sport lifestyle segment contributed the most dollars gained, while performance footwear continued to struggle.

Women’s athletic footwear outperformed the rest of the market, with sales up in the high single-digits, and this was driven by stellar Vans sales. Men’s sales grew in the low single-digits, as the performance categories were all soft, while kids’ sales were up slightly for the quarter.

The athletic specialty/sporting goods channel experienced a low single-digit gain, but was dramatically outpaced by the other channels. Premium department stores grew in the high singles, while mid-tier department stores improved in the mid-single digits. Shoe chains grew in the mid-single digits as well.

In terms of categories, performance footwear continued its negative trend, which has now entered its fourth year. With declines seen in key segments including basketball, training, running, and hiking, there is no evidence that performance-as-fashion will make a comeback any time soon.

Sport lifestyle, the largest athletic footwear category, grew its sales by 8 percent. Cold/all weather boots had a solid beginning to the fall/winter season, with sales up 16 percent, driven by brands including Koolaburra, UGG, and Sorel. Skate shoe sales increased by 45 percent, driven by Vans, and sports slides were up 12 percent.

Looking at brand highlights, Nike, Adidas, and Skechers grew their sales for the quarter, as did Brooks, Vans, and Timberland. Nike, Inc. sales were flat on account of declines from Brand Jordan and Converse, and Under Armour also experienced a decline. The Q3 top-selling athletic footwear styles, based on dollar sales were: Nike Tanjun, Nike Air Max 270, Converse Chuck Taylor Low, Vans Ward, Nike Revolution 4, Nike Air Huarache, Nike Flex Contact, Jordan X, Adidas NMD R1, and Nike Flex Experience RN 7.

September, in particular, showed some surprises, especially as we step into the holiday season. With September sales decelerating for big brands including Nike, Adidas, and Skechers, I expect this will pose some weakness to holiday sales for the athletic footwear industry. In addition, the top-selling shoe for the last two years, Nike Tanjun, saw a sales decline in September, with no replacement in sight. Vans’ growth, while still robust, slowed in the last month. Echoing my sentiment that ‘small is the new big,’ I expect this theme to continue to hold true during the holiday season, which I believe will be an interesting one this year. 

As I expected, activewear sales were up slightly for Q3. Weather was a factor as the warm and dry conditions slowed cold weather gains. This early trend does not bode well for holiday, as brands are already being quite promotional.

Contrary to footwear, women’s activewear sales were quite soft, while men’s and kids showed solid growth.

Looking at channel performance, both premium and mid-tier department stores saw mid-single digit growth, and athletic specialty/sporting goods had a low single-digit decline.

One encouraging note was the early strength in outerwear, driven by retro track jackets and wind shirts. Cold weather outerwear categories are clean and fresh, which provided a nice lift to the market. Other segments that grew were sweatshirts, also fueled by the retro trend, and active bottoms. Sports bras declined in the mid-single digits, as the verticals took share from the core brands. Socks and swimwear were both negative as well.

In terms of brands, “Private Label” was the largest brand and one of the fastest growing. Both Adidas and Nike grew, largely on the retro trend, as did Patagonia, The North Face, Columbia, and PrAna. Under Armour, which has no retro product, experienced a sales decline. In addition, Fruit of the Loom, Hanes, and Champion saw growth as well.


Stay current in your industry
SUBSCRIBE

Related Blog Posts

Tagged: Sports


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.

Sneakernomics: Are We “Post-Sneaker”?
Sneakernomics: Are We “Post-Sneaker”?

For decades, U.S. consumers coveted the latest athletic footwear being touted as the most technologically advanced with the power to make a consumer a better runner, basketball player, tennis player, or even an aerobics superstar. Now that athleisure is the leading footwear category, is performance footwear all but done?

Outdoor Retailer 2019 and the Rise of Everyday Outdoor
Outdoor Retailer 2019 and the Rise of Everyday Outdoor

The concept of 'Everyday Outdoor" captures the idea of consumers seeking outdoor products with pragmatic, everyday use, as well as those that bring the 'creature comforts' of home - like coffee that stays hot - to the outdoors.

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.