Mar 26, 2018

The March Four’easter

Subscribe to our blog

I really wish I came up with that simple yet clever term, but the credit goes to a New York Times columnist, writing about the fourth snowstorm to hit the Northeast in March, which arrived after the official start of spring. Now of course no one is under any illusion that come March 20 it will, all of a sudden, be sandal weather, but 12 to 18 inches of snow post-vernal equinox does seem a bit excessive. 

A week or so ago, on the day of the third Nor’easter of the month, I noted the number of promotional emails related to spring in my inbox: “Spring is just one week away!”  “New season, new styles!”  “Warmer days ahead!”  It was like someone clearly missed the memo.  A few days before that (just after the second storm in March), I walked by a prominent independent shoe store in my neighborhood and saw a letter paper-sized printed sign in the window that read “WE HAVE BOOTS!” The window was full of sandals, so the sign was needed, or else someone looking for boots might have just kept walking.  

Clearly the footwear (and broader retail) industry is still challenged to adapt the flow of product.  Industry players have talked at length about the fact that the retail calendar does not align with the actual seasons, nor with the mindsets of consumers as they look to “buy now, wear now.”  Since I’m on the topic of snow, it’s worth pointing out that dollar and unit sales of winter/snow boots have declined by 10-15 percent during each of the past two boot seasons*.  But, while we don’t have March 2018 results yet (as it is still more than a week away from month-end as I write this), looking back at March dollar and unit sales for 2016 and 2017 reveals small dollar volume, but double-digit growth each year. This suggests that consumers have an increasing appetite for this type of product in March, whether it be out of actual need or just acting opportunistically, taking advantage of post-season clearance sales (which are apparent given the rapid deterioration of price points versus earlier in the season).  Not surprisingly, the top growth designated market areas (DMAs) for winter/snow boots in March for the past two years combined are New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston.**

So you know the saying “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb?” Well, that lion seems to be hanging around a bit longer these days, so perhaps there is some opportunity for brands and retailers to take advantage.  In addition to the spring email marketing I received on the day of a snowstorm, I have been pleased to see a few other messages over the last week that recognize the fact that it is still cold and snowy in the Northeast, promoting the appropriate products. But, what if we took it one step further? With seasons blurring together and late winter/early spring seemingly colder and snowier than ever, February/March could be a good time to release a limited quantity of new snow boot styles scheduled for full launch during the upcoming fall/winter. This newness and limited supply could potentially entice consumers who have not yet bought a new pair to do so, and/or create demand for the full launch later in the year.

 

*The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service, 6 months ending February 2018 and 2017
**The NPD Group/ Retail Tracking Service, March 2017 and 2016



Stay current in your industry
SUBSCRIBE

Related Blog Posts

Tagged: Fashion Accessories , Footwear


Holiday 2019 - It’s just the beginning
Holiday 2019 - It’s just the beginning

Black Friday and Cyber Monday provided a glimpse into what is hot in fashion footwear and accessories, and what retailers need to do to make it a happy holiday.

Fashion Footwear Holiday: Casual, Comfortable, and Socially Conscious
Fashion Footwear Holiday: Casual, Comfortable, and Socially Conscious

Casual, comfortable, cozy, and conscious are the themes that will resonate with consumers this holiday in the fashion footwear space. Beth Goldstein delves into the trends and her expectations on how the market will fare.

VSCO Girls: How A Consumer Group Born on Social Media Has Cross-Industry Implications
VSCO Girls: How A Consumer Group Born on Social Media Has Cross-Industry Implications

The VSCO girl subculture took hold this summer and has created opportunities for products and brands in a variety of industries including apparel, beauty, fashion accessories, footwear, sporting goods and technology. We asked our industry analysts to weigh in regarding the implications and opportunities for their industries.

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.

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.