Is the Footwear Industry Poised for Growth This Holiday Season?

Ahead of the holiday shopping season, brands and retailers are preparing their stores for customers loosening their purse strings. But how much of that share will contribute to overall sales for the footwear industry as a whole?

If past months are any indication, analysts at The NPD Group are optimistic. In the fashion footwear market, July pushed out both summer and fall styles to kick off a strong momentum that continued in August. And as expected, cold weather boots saw sales pick up in September.

“This turnaround is a positive sign heading into the all-important Q4,” shared Beth Goldstein, executive director and industry expert in accessories and footwear.

On the other hand, the athletic footwear market grew 4 percent in the third quarter, with the sport lifestyle segment seeing the most gains, followed by skate. However, performance footwear continued its downward trend — the fourth year of negative numbers, per NPD data.

“With September sales decelerating for big brands including Nike, Adidas and Skechers, I expect this will pose some weakness to holiday sales for the athletic footwear industry,” shared Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry advisor for The NPD Group. “On the other hand, echoing my sentiments that ‘small is the new big,’ Fila and Reebok were among the brands that had solid increases in September, and I expect this theme to continue to hold true during the holiday season.”

Among other growth drivers are sports lifestyle brands across men’s, women’s and kids’ sectors as well as comfort-driven footwear, which already contributed to a 7 percent increase for the industry in the first half of the year. Private label also saw improvements, and women’s fashion returned to growth with the sales of ankle boots, fashion slides and even pumps.

The information in NPD’s report comes from its monthly point-of-sale footwear database. It is collected from the athletic specialty/sporting goods as well as premium and mid-tier shoe chains among other channels.

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