Ugg Reigns as Top Holiday Gift, Footwear Remains Strong

With holiday shopping at its peak, footwear has the edge for top holiday gift so far, thanks to Ugg Australia.

Deckers brand, which owns Ugg, remains the No. 1 searched term for the third year in a row, whereas “Uggs” secured three of the top 12 most sought-after items, according to Experian.

For online retailer Gilt.com, Yvonne Yip, VP of merchandising, said, “Cold-weather boots have been incredibly strong this year with double-digit comps in our best brands. This has also been a strong category for us during the holidays, as it’s a great gifting item as well as self purchase. Within cold-weather shoes, slippers have been the best category, selling out with the highest demand in our sales.”

Market research company the NPD Group says online is the leading channel for holiday shopping, which would explain why 70 percent of brands are allotting more than half of their digital marketing budgets to search and social this holiday season.

Even traditional retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target are becoming more aggressive when it comes to online sales. Target Corp. said Thanksgiving was its biggest online day ever, with sales up 40 percent from 2013, while Wal-Mart said Thanksgiving was its second-biggest day ever.

According to the NPD Group, 15 percent of U.S. consumers plan on buying footwear for holiday gifts. Along with Ugg, athletic footwear is continuing with solid sales. The week of Christmas and the week after are two of the busiest weeks of the year for athletic footwear.

Analysts from Sterne Agee Group Inc. reported that the Air Jordan 6 (in Black/Infrared) has posted total sales of $70.7 million since it launched on Black Friday. They also said the holiday launch schedule is strong and basketball sales will accelerate.

Overall, the National Retail Federation expects holiday shopping sales to increase 4.1 percent in 2014, compared with 3.1 percent in 2013. According to the NRF, sales in November and December can account for as much as 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales.

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