NPD Highlights: What’s in Store for the Sports Industry Heading into Holiday 2015

“This year has been an especially robust one for many major facets of the sports industry, from footwear and apparel to equipment and cycling. The holiday season can only give these markets added thrust to close out 2015 on the highest note we’ve seen in a while,” said Matt Powell, sports industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Outdoor is all the rage, cycling is showing some gains, and 2015 will likely go down as one of the strongest growth years in the last decade for the athletic footwear industry.”

Riding Retro in Footwear* - Retro is a theme surrounding some of the biggest sneaker launches in November and December, and it is a trend that is shaping up to be popular during this holiday season. The Classics category is up 27 percent in dollar sales heading into the holidays, an increase of 25 percentage points compared to last year, making it the fastest-growing athletic footwear category. “From retro basketball and running footwear to apparel, retro will be the most important fashion trend for this holiday season,” said Powell.

All About the Outdoors - “Millennials embrace the values of the outdoor industry and want to share those values in the way they dress, play, work, and express themselves. This trend has been working to the advantage of the outdoor apparel, footwear, and equipment industries in 2015,” said Powell. While sales were flat during this time last year, outerwear** dollar sales grew 6 percent from January through September, an encouraging position to be in as the holiday season gets underway. Similarly, cold/all-weather boots* grew 24 percent in dollar sales after a decline in 2014. Hiking/lite hiking* is also growing quickly, with sales up in the double-digits. Within the outdoor sports equipment*** market, camping and climbing are two of the hottest categories and have experienced a notable uptick in sales compared to 2014; camping dollar sales grew 11 percent and climbing by 17 percent so far this year.

A New Spin for the Cycling Business - Contrary to the first nine months of 2014, the cycling industry**** is on the plus side heading into this holiday season. Driven in large part by trends in electric, transit/fitness, and mountain bikes, bicycle sales are up 4 percent in dollars and 7 percent in units. To complement this trend, bike accessories—which include items such as bike lights, fenders, racks, and water bottle cages—have also grown in both dollar and unit sales, after declines in 2014. “The cycling business has been challenged for the last few years; however, the consumers’ shift to more practical and versatile bikes has boosted its sales greatly in 2015,” said Powell.

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, Jan-Sept. 2015 versus Jan-Sept. 2014

*Footwear classes include skate, walking, hiking/lite hiking, casual athletic, outdoor sandal, sport slide, cold/all weather boots, classics, basketball, running, soccer/football, cross training, baseball, and american football. Data is collected from the athletic specialty/sporting goods, chain store, department store, and other channels.

**Data is collected from the athletic specialty/sporting goods, outdoor specialty, and sport specialty e-commerce channels.
*** Data is collected from the athletic specialty/sporting goods, bike specialty, outdoor specialty,run specialty, and sport specialty e-commerce channels.
****Data is collected from Independent Bicycle Dealers.

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