Cold Weather, Spring Break, and Athleisure Fever Creates Winning Combination for Q1 Sneaker & Activewear Sales, Reports NPD

Port Washington, NY, May 12, 2015 – The first quarter of the year resulted in a solid performance for the athletic footwear and apparel industry, according to global information company The NPD Group. Compared to the first quarter of 2014, dollar sales were up 8 percent for sneakers and 9 percent for activewear, a sharp contrast to last year when overall first quarter sales were flat and down, respectively, for these markets.

“The combination of cold weather, an earlier Easter, and the continued strength of the athleisure trend factored into the success of sneaker and activewear sales during this first part of the year,” said Matt Powell, sports industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Easy weather comparisons in January and March offset the colder weather in February, while the earlier Easter, coinciding with school Spring Break, helped force business into Q1.”

Athletic Footwear

Men’s athletic footwear saw a strong surge in walking sneakers in Q1, with sales up in the mid-teens, while classics and hiking also experienced double-digit gains. Basketball and training helped offset a low single-digit decline in running, the largest category. Women’s classics leapt nearly 75 percent, while walking, hiking, and training were offset by the flat sales performance of running footwear. Children’s classics improved in the high single digits, while basketball grew in the high teens, and running in the low teens.


Three of the top performing categories for activewear in Q1 were active bottoms, sweatshirts, and bras. Active bottoms grew in the mid-teens, sweatshirts in the low teens, and bras made a comeback with a mid-single digit increase after a flat 2014. 

*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, January-March 2015

*Data is collected from the athletic specialty, sporting goods, chain store, and department store channels


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