While athletic trends are likely to remain fairly robust for some time — as casualization endures as a dominant theme in American culture — the industry’s leading brands are showing some early signs of deceleration, according to a new report.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Nondurable Products Report 2018 this week revealed that overall customer satisfaction with athletic shoes declined 1.3 percent this year to receive a score of 79, on a scale of 1 to 100.
By brand, Adidas dropped 4 percent to 78, but still outranked Nike, which saw customer satisfaction decrease 3 percent to an ACSI score of 77.
This news follows a report by The NPD Group Inc. last month, which labeled August athletic shoe sales as “disappointing — with sales down in the low single digits in both dollars and units, resulting in a flat average selling price.
The latest NPD report today also showed September sales decelerating for big brands including Nike, Adidas, and Skechers — which, Matt Powell, the firm’s senior industry advisor for sports, cautioned does not bode well for retailers this holiday season.
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Still, it’s not all bad news: Where some major brands are decelerating, smaller, niche labels like Supreme and retro brands including Fila are winning.
“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,” Powell said.
Overall, the NPD said today that the U.S. athletic footwear market grew a “healthy” 4 percent in the third quarter of 2018— suggesting that the sector remains solid overall and that as small declines are often followed by another round gains.
The ACSI Nondurable Products Report 2018 on food, soft drinks, beer, personal care and cleaning items, apparel, and athletic shoes is based on interviews with 5,315 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between October 2, 2017, and September 28, 2018.
The information in NPD’s report comes from its monthly point-of-sale footwear database. It is collected from the athletic specialty/sporting goods, premium, mid-tier, shoe chain, and other channels.