Fashion Footwear Sales Increased in 2010

It’s official: 2010 was a good year for the footwear industry, as Americans bought more trendy shoes than they did in 2009.

The latest sales figures for the fashion footwear market, released by marketing research company The NPD Group, show that total fashion shoe sales in the U.S. rose 7.2 percent — a strong reversal of the 3.5 percent decline recorded in 2009.

“The footwear market was the last to feel the pain of the recession and is the first to feel the gain of the recovery,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD, said in a written statement. “Women were the first to feel ‘frugal fatigue’ and head back to spending on fashion product, while spending on men’s and children’s products has followed.”  

Sales of women’s footwear increased 8 percent to reach $20.7 billion, driven by boots and toning product.

Men’s shoe sales came in a close second, advancing 7 percent to $10.5 billion, after decreasing more than 8 percent for 2009. Men’s sales were driven by the performance category, which includes walking, toning, shaping and skate styles.

Children’s footwear sales posted a gain of 3.5 percent, after declining 4.6 percent in 2009. The increase was driven by the dress and casual athletic categories.

NPD’s research also showed that shoe stores gained more market share than did discount stores, mass merchants and department stores in 2010.

“Two share points is significant and shows that the consumer is recalculating their value equation. Service, assortment and ease of shopping are the primary draws of the shoe store. And with more consumers making this choice, they are telling us that they are not buying on price alone,” said Cohen.

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