Global Athletic Footwear Market Could Total $84.4B by 2018

In case you haven’t noticed, the athletic footwear category is booming. Whether it’s Kanye’s latest Yeezy release with Adidas, the ever-hot Nike and Jordan markets, Under Armour’s breakout hoops star or the Converse All Star fashion collaborations with, well, everyone, it’s abundantly clear that sneakers are having a moment.

A recent report from Transparency Market Research, an Albany, N.Y.-based research company, backs up our hunch with hard facts and some lofty predictions for the segment’s future growth.

The company estimates that the global athletic footwear business could reach a market value worth of $84.4 billion by 2018. By comparison, the category had a value of $74.7 billion in 2011.

Several factors are fueling possible growth, according to Transparency Market Research, including a rise in demand for comfortable shoes and an increasing awareness about healthy living. Additionally, the company points out that many major economies have significant amounts of disposable income, and as global populations swell even further, there is the potential for more revenue streams to come online.

Geographically, Asia Pacific is expected to be the biggest market for athletic footwear by 2018, with 41.6 percent of the market share, followed by Europe and then North America.

Men should continue to be the dominant consumer base for athletic shoes in 2018, with 62 percent market share. Meanwhile, the women’s segment is estimated to grow 1.3 percent from its 2011 level, and children’s could also rise 1.3 percent in the designated period.

All that is certainly good news for the seemingly unstoppable Nike Inc., which pulled in stellar numbers in the latest quarter and outperformed expectations. However, the emergence of new global markets and the introduction of cool innovations does open the door for competitors like Adidas, Under Armour, Reebok and Asics to challenge the market leader.

But if there’s one thing you can count on in the sports business, it’s that the game can change at any minute. And a lot can happen between now and 2018. Self-lacing shoes, for instance? One can only hope.

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