NPD Group: Online Athletic Sales Rise

The online opportunity continues to get bigger for athletic players.

In a new study, The NPD Group Inc. said athletic footwear e-commerce sales in the U.S. reached $5 billion from May 2012 to April 2013, a 21 percent increase over the same period in the prior year. (Brick-and-mortar sales, meanwhile, were up 17 percent in the same period.)

“Online offers the ability to find the product you want at the best value, but it also offers the widest assortment of athletic footwear, whereas brick-and-mortar has limited space,” Marshal Cohen, NPD Group chief industry analyst, said in a statement.

NPD said that 54 percent of online consumers were female, while 46 percent were male.

Price was also a big factor online — more than half of the footwear purchased was discounted. Still, the average price of a pair of shoes was higher compared with brick-and-mortar purchases, $54.63 per pair compared with $42.16 in stores.

 “The online consumer is different, especially when it comes to buying athletic footwear,” Cohen said. “Shoppers shop online for better deals, but they are willing to trade up to higher-priced products.”

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