The NPD Group Reports Online Sales of Athletic Footwear Post Double-Digit Growth

Online Shoppers Care More About Brand, Style, and Price Than Consumers Who Purchase In Store

Port Washington, NY, June 25, 2013 The NPD Group, a global information company, reports that the total ecommerce athletic footwear market in the U.S. was worth an estimated $5 billion from May 2012 – April 2013, up 21 percent compared to the year earlier period. Ecommerce sales represented 18 percent of the total athletic footwear market, worth $28 billion from May 2012 – April 2013 and up 5 percent from the same time period last year. Online sales outpaced brick-and-mortar with unit sales up 17 percent while brick-and-mortar units were down 2 percent from May 2012 – April 2013 verse May 2011 – April 2012.

“Online offers the ability to find the product you want at the best value but online also offers the widest assortment of athletic footwear where brick-and-mortar has limited space,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Consumers are clearly looking for this bigger online assortment each year and some retailers are working really hard at maximizing space to include as many style offerings as possible.”

Female consumers for athletic footwear sales online represented 54 percent and males 46 percent. Compared to athletic footwear sales made in brick-and-mortar, female buyers’ representation is slightly higher with 57 percent and males 43 percent, suggesting that males purchase their athletic footwear relatively more online. In addition, 37 percent of the athletic footwear bought online was intended to be used for sports, while the same measure is only 30 percent for in store purchases.

“Those who shop online care more about style, price, and brand while consumers who shop in store focus more on comfort caring less about the style and brand. Surprisingly, men are more superficial about the athletic footwear they buy than women,” stated Cohen.

Sale pricing continued to be one of the top reasons why consumers shop online. 53 percent of athletic footwear bought online was on sale while 47 percent of athletic footwear bought in brick-and-mortar was on sale. But the average selling price of products sold online has been consistently higher than brick-and-mortar. The average selling price of athletic footwear sold online from May 2012 – April 2013 was $54.63, compared to average selling price of $42.16 for sales made in stores.

“Sports sales has been growing faster online than other categories including apparel, fashion footwear, and fashion accessories,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “The online consumer is different especially when it comes to buying athletic footwear, shoppers shop online for better deals but they are willing to trade up to higher-priced products.” 

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