US athletic footwear sales grow 2% in 2017

The US athletic footwear sector grew by 2 per cent last year, generating $19.6 billion in sales, according to The NPD Group. Unit sales grew by 2 per cent and average selling price remained flat, at $58.16. The women’s market grew the fastest, with sales up by 5 per cent over 2016. Men’s footwear grew its sales by 1 per cent, as did the kids’ market.


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While promotions helped drive sales in 2017 and the product mix kept the average selling price flat, it was a double-edged sword for the industry, as its performance was not as healthy as in more recent years, said Matt Powell, senior industry advisor, sports, at global information company.

“Brands and retailers need to change their course of action to achieve long-term growth. Adopting solutions in their marketing and product development will give the industry an important boost in 2018, and set it on the right track moving forward,” a company press release quoted Powell as saying.

Sport leisure is now the largest category in athletic footwear, capturing $9.6 billion in sales in 2017 and growing by 17 per cent, while performance sales declined 10 per cent to $7.4 billion, a rate that has accelerated for the last two years. Running shoe sales declined by 7 per cent and training sales were down 15 per cent.

Nike/Brand Jordan, Adidas, Skechers, Under Armour and New Balance were the top-selling brands based on dollar sales in 2017.

Adidas was the fastest-growing player in the market overall, growing its sales by over 50 per cent. While the list of top 10 selling shoes was dominated by Nike and Brand Jordan, Adidas had two shoes on that list this year — Superstar and Tubular Shadow.

Looking at the quarterly performance, the industry’s sales generated during the third and fourth quarters of the year were almost the same, as both coincide with key seasons for the industry: back-to-school and holiday. Impacted by price promotions, the fourth quarter of 2017 grew 4 per cent compared to that same period in 2016.

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