Athletic Footwear, Led By Nike, Continues to Drive Kids’ Shoe Sales

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Sneakers still rule the kids’ shoe business. According to newly released data from The NPD Group’s Checkout Tracking service, athletic footwear accounted for the majority of online sales of children’s footwear during the 12-month period ended in April 2015.

During this time, U.S. consumers purchased an average of 2.4 pairs of kids’ shoes online, with the largest percentage — more than one-third — of sales coming from the southern portion of the country.

“Athletic footwear and apparel have become the wardrobe of choice for many kids,” said Matt Powell, NPD’s sports industry analyst. “Much of the growth in children’s footwear has come from increases in average selling price.”

Powell explained that the price increases are being driven by several factors, including indulgent millennial parents buying shoes for their kids; the growing popularity of classic and marquee basketball styles that carry higher price points; and the trend of teen girls buying boys’ shoes because they are less expensive.

In terms of market share, Nike and its Jordan brand captured the No. 1 spot, with 19.5 percent. In the No. 2 spot, The Children’s Place nabbed 5.4 percent of sales, followed closely by Crocs with 5.2 percent. Other top-selling brands included Stride Rite, New Balance, Converse, Toms, Adidas, Puma and Skechers.

“Just like their millennial parents, Generation Z has a tremendous affinity for and loyalty to athletic brands,” Powell noted.