2015 Footwear Industry In Review: The NPD Group At FN Platform

FN Platform
On the floor at FN Platform in 2015.
Jim Decker

On Aug. 18, market research company The NPD Group reviewed the 2015 footwear industry during a discussion at FN Platform in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Speakers included Beth Goldstein, executive director and industry analyst, as well as Matt Powell, VP of industry analysis, sports and leisure trends.

The discussion reviewed both the athletic and fashion footwear categories for the $64 billion U.S. shoe market.

Here are a few highlights from Goldstein and Powell.

Leading Categories

Goldstein:
“There has been a comfort and casual trend, with Birkenstock having a renaissance. Simple, elegant styles also performed well. The strappy sandal and fashion slide were leading categories. For men, fashion boots are a new spring staple. The monk strap is a small silhouette, but still growing.”

Powell: “The sneaker business is up 8 percent, its second-strongest year in a decade. Nike and Air Jordan are the leading brands, while Adidas is pretty challenged. However, I’m confident they are making the right moves and will continue to improve. Performance basketball footwear is up, mostly driven by Nike.”

Weekend Sneaker Release Nike CJ3 Flyweave Trainer. Courtesy of Foot Locker.

Burgeoning Markets

Goldstein: “Fashion and athletic continue to be intertwined. Customers are willing to spend on products that make them feel and look good.”

Powell: “The sports business in the U.S. is very, very good. We live in a culture of sport. Athletes are celebrities and fashion icons, and the athleisure trend means people are now dressing up to go to the gym.”

Changing Habits

Goldstein: “Footwear has always been at the forefront of online sales. Store traffic is declining, largely due to online spending. The comfort of online has lead to a whole new range of shopping concepts.”

Powell: “Millennials and Gen Z will radically change the shoe business. Millennials represent 25 percent of the U.S. population. They want to interact with your brand and talk about your products. In five years, they will account for one-third of retail spending.”

The Power Of Online

Goldstein: “For online sales in the U.S., 23 percent comes from footwear. The largest online shoe retailer is Amazon.com, with fellow retailers Nordstrom, Zappos, eBay and Nike rounding out the top five.”