Home Blog 2018 Sneakernomics: Back to School 2018 at the Halfway Point

The NPD Group Blog

Insights and Opinions From Analysts and Experts in More Than 20 Industries

Aug 23, 2018

Sneakernomics: Back to School 2018 at the Halfway Point

Matt Powell, Vice President, Senior Industry Advisor ;

Sports

@NPDMattPowell

Back-to-School 2018 is a little more than half over and the results thus far, as I anticipated, have been rather disappointing. Looking at weekly sales data from June 3 through July 28, 2018 compared to the same period a year ago, athletic footwear dollar sales in the U.S. were essentially flat.  

The sport lifestyle category has slowed given some weakness in retro basketball, but sales nonetheless grew in the mid-single digits.

The performance shoe categories all continued to struggle. Performance running (even with all the new initiatives) was down in the mid-single digits. Performance basketball sales declined as did training and hiking footwear. There does not appear to be a turn for ‘performance as fashion’ in the near term.

Sport slides have been a popular seller and were up in the low teens. Skate shoes grew by nearly half, driven by robust demand for Vans. What I have expected to be a hot brand this back-to-school season, Vans overall sales grew by more than three quarters during these weeks. NPD’s Checkout, a receipt mining service, has uncovered some interesting findings around the brand. In the last 12 months, the size of Vans’ in-store customer base has held relatively steady versus last year, but their customers are making more purchases; the proportion of in-store Vans buyers who have purchased two or more pairs has increased by almost 20 percent versus a year ago.

Looking at other brand highlights, Nike brand grew in the low single digits, though it was not enough to offset Nike Inc. declines. Adidas’s mid-teens gains were well off its previous torrid pace, though the brand continues to take share in the U.S. Brooks improved by a third. Skechers athletic shoes posted a slight decline, while ASICS saw sales fall in the high teens. Timberland and Columbia grew in sales, while Merrell and Keen declined.

Fila and Puma both had nice increases for the period. “Small as the new big” is an important theme for Back-to-School 2018.

Given these results, I expect this back-to-school season to be as promotional as last year, if not more so, putting pressure on margins. I also expect e-commerce to outpace sales growth in physical stores, as online becomes more and more important to the total.

Looking ahead, I expect these modest results to continue for the balance of the year. Whatever energy we see in athletic footwear will come from the smaller brands.

Source: The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service, 8 weeks ending July 28, 2018



Related Blog Posts


Sneakernomics: E-commerce in Sports Retail
Sneakernomics: E-commerce in Sports Retail

While e-commerce giants pose big competition, brands and retailers are successfully building their own niche, online platforms and there remains plenty of room to grow in this space. Matt Powell highlights the strategies and ways in which brands and retailers can win online.

Sneakernomics: Predictions for Sports Retail in 2019
Sneakernomics: Predictions for Sports Retail in 2019

Matt Powell expects a rocky year for the sports industry in 2019, as macro issues will likely weigh heavily on the industry. In these challenging times, what can retailers and brands do to stand out? Powell outlines his expectations and what opportunities should be seized to thrive.

Sneakernomics: What Really Happened with Athletic Footwear and Activewear Sales in 2018
Sneakernomics: What Really Happened with Athletic Footwear and Activewear Sales in 2018

Matt Powell provides the highlights and his analysis on how the brands and categories across the U.S. athletic footwear and activewear markets fared in 2018.

Sneakernomics: Golf and Team Sports Equipment 2018 Recap
Sneakernomics: Golf and Team Sports Equipment 2018 Recap

Matt Powell recaps how sales fared for baseball, golf, soccer, and other sports equipment products in 2018. Baseball/softball equipment sales grew largely as a result of new youth bat safety regulations that required most youth players to replace their bats. Golf was another bright spot for the market. After years of soft sales, the category bounced back. One of the top growth categories in golf were complete golf sets, particularly at opening price-points, suggesting new entrants.

Subscribe to our blog

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.