According to the Port Washington, N.Y.-based firm, sales for the category increased 11 percent in January and 6 percent in February versus the year-ago periods, driven by strong product releases.
“In the past, many people thought the February All-Star Game and March Madness drove the sales of the basketball footwear industry, but this year’s results so far show that is not the case,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD, said in a statement.
“Retailers and manufacturers frontloaded their new footwear collections to get an earlier start on sales,” he added, calling those months a “second season” that has driven the business more than the events.
Market share continues to be dominated by Jordan, Nike and Adidas, according to NPD. And young shoppers are fueling the demand.
“Even though the younger generation who is purchasing basketball shoes is low on disposable income, they are the consumers who are jumping on the business. Basketball will be the category to watch as a key revenue driver in 2013,” Cohen said.
According to the group, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles topped the list for basketball revenue in 2012. Washington, D.C., had both the highest average selling price for basketball styles and was the fastest-growing city in the top 10 basketball markets.