NPD Study: Familiarity, Brand Identification Key for Athletic Shoppers

For shoppers looking to buy athletic footwear, it’s all about what you know, according to a new study by Port Washington, N.Y.-based The NPD Group.

Data from the group’s recently released “The Retail and Brand Landscape,” report, which surveyed more than 15,000 consumers about retailers and brands across industry segments, showed that shoppers looking for athletic footwear go first to the retailers they know.

Survey respondents also prioritized retailer identification as second-most important, and selection as third.

“Today retail and branding is more challenging, and learning how to engage today’s athletic consumer is even more so,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD, in a statement. “They are very educated about the products they choose, which leads to a greater need to understand them and what triggers them to purchase and remain loyal.”

The survey also covered the rate at which different retail formats convert shoppers into more engaged consumers.

“Consumer priorities are the foundation of the overall shopper-engagement process, which varies widely depending on the retailer,” Cohen said. “A particular retailer’s ability to dovetail its particular strengths with its target customers’ priorities is the key to converting more of its casual browsers into loyal, ongoing buyers.”

When it comes to athletic footwear, national chains lead the way, with an 82 percent conversion rate in shoppers going from “aware” to “familiar,” and 48 percent rate from “familiar” to “will consider.” Athletic outperforms both department stores and discount stores and mass merchants, according to the data.

When it came to upgrading from “consider” to “purchase,” however, it was the discounters and mass merchants who had the edge, with a 41 percent conversion rate, beating national chains, at 36 percent, and department stores, at 32 percent. At the top tier, however, the national chains won out, with an 11 percent conversion rate from “purchase” to “loyal usage,” beating department stores with 5 percent and the discount/mass channel with 8 percent.

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