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Lululemon’s First Footwear Range Could Be ‘Another Market Game Changer,’ NPD Data Shows

NPD Group is banking on the success of Lululemon’s new footwear range.

According to Matt Powell, NDP’s VP and senior industry advisor for sports, strong loyalty to the brand’s apparel will likely carry over to footwear and the category has the “potential to be another market game changer.”

This insight comes as new numbers are released by the market research firm through its Checkout Omnichannel Tracking data, which is based on actual receipts on purchases made both online and in-store. Monday’s report showed that Lululemon’s female customers in the U.S. are very loyal to the brand.

“Driven by the brand’s higher pricepoint compared to its competitors, women who bought Lululemon activewear spent 30% of their total activewear purchases there, in the 12 months ending January 2022 — capturing more of their customers’ spending on activewear compared to brands including Fabletics, Under Armour, and Adidas, which each capture less than 10% of their customers’ activewear purchases,” Powell wrote in the report. “I expect that the strong loyalty to Lululemon apparel will likely carry over to footwear.”

Powell also reported that in terms of footwear, over the past year Lululemon’s female activewear customers have primarily purchased performance shoes at Dick’s Sporting Goods and Nike, followed by Nordstrom, Zappos, and Amazon.

And by brand, Powell found that Lululemon’s female activewear customers favored Nike for their performance footwear purchases, followed by Brooks, Adidas, Asics, and Hoka. “It will be interesting to monitor if and how these brands are impacted by the Lululemon shoe coming to market,” Powell added.

Lululemon footwear collection
CREDIT: Courtesy of Lululemon

Lululemon’s first footwear collection was already making waves earlier this month ahead of its March 22 launch, thanks to its women-first approach that aims to create a shoe specifically designed for the female foot.

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based athleisure brand revealed its footwear collection on March 8 at an event in New York, emphasizing a rigorous process of creation that included multiple rounds of wear-testing and analyzing footwear scan data from more than a million feet.

“We started with the data, with the research, working with biomechanists, working with other experts in the industry to look at foot scans,” said Lululemon’s senior director of footwear development, Heather Pieraldi last week.

To do this, Lululemon utilized data from Volumental, a provider of 3D foot-scanning technology. Volumental said it shared aggregate statistical data, which includes means of different foot measurements across North America and Asia for all genders. Lululemon, which focused on female scans, also conducted its own scans on a few hundred people, with Volumental making sure that these testers were representative of actual populations of consumers.

And it’s this approach and focus on the female consumer that Powell feels will lead Lululemon to success in this category. “A dirty little secret of the athletic shoe business is that many women’s sneakers in the market today were originally designed for men,” Powell said. “I believe this is one of the reasons women’s footwear typically trails men’s products.”

Powell added: “I believe that the new Lululemon footwear will force the rest of the industry to be more transparent about which of their products truly fit women’s feet.”

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