Port Washington, NY, May 18, 2015 – Soccer might not be top of mind when it comes to considering the most popular sports in the United States, but when it comes to athletic footwear and apparel, the soccer category is outperforming sports including baseball and American football, according to global information company The NPD Group.
“With sports participation in decline in the U.S., it is encouraging to see a category like soccer growing,” said Matt Powell, sports industry analyst, The NPD Group. “The 2014 World Cup spurred a big jump in interest in soccer, both as a spectator sport and in terms of participation. While excitement typically builds since it comes only every four years, this past year’s World Cup drew record audiences to the games on TV. With this level of heightened interest, the soccer category is one to keep an eye on.”
Looking at athletic footwear and specialty apparel*, soccer has gained popularity across genders and age groups. While the figures for sports categories including baseball and American football are a mixed bag, soccer is on the plus-side across the board.
“The soccer shoe business in the U.S. is largely confined to children’s and young adult sizes, while the growth in soccer apparel is generally more about fan wear than actual participation,” added Powell. “With Generation Z the most diverse generation ever, it is logical to expect an increase in an international sport like soccer.”
Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service
*Athletic footwear retail channels include department stores, national chains, shoe chains, athletic specialty, sporting goods, and other. Apparel retail channels include athletic specialty and sporting goods.