Inflation and hefty shoe prices are having a direct impact on how consumers make their footwear purchases.
A national spring survey of consumers from the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America released today found that almost half (48%) of footwear consumers plan to spend less on shoes this spring than last year.
The survey, which was conducted by Emerson College Polling in partnership with the Fashion Footwear Association of New York (FFANY), also found that 49% of shoe shoppers are putting off footwear purchases because of inflation.
Consumer prices rose by 8.5% in February compared with a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report. This number was up from the 7.9% growth in February and represented the highest inflation rate since the 12-month period ending in December 1981.
Within footwear, prices are also hitting record highs. Footwear prices grew 6.6% in March, year over year, according to FDRA data. This marks the third-fastest year over year increase in about 33 years, trailing behind February’s 7% increase and May’s 7.1% increase. Men’s footwear was up 5.1%, women’s was up 5.8% and kids’ was up 11%. The spike in kid’s footwear marks the second highest spike in 33 years.
Within footwear, the rising prices can be attributed to a variety of factors, especially heavy tariffs on consumer goods like footwear. The FDRA has continuously pressured the Biden Administration to eliminate the burdensome tariffs that have contributed to soaring prices on footwear.
Consumers are not blind to these changes. According to the survey, 68% of shoe shoppers have noticed higher shoe prices.
However, inflationary pressure has not significantly dampened consumer spending thus far. The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that retail and food service sales in March 2022 totaled $665.7 billion, marking a seasonally adjusted 0.5% increase from the previous month and a 6.9% leap from March 2021.
According to the FDRA survey, most U.S. shoppers (74%) say they are still at least somewhat likely to buy shoes this spring for themselves or their family. When it comes to shoe preferences, athletic or casual shoes were voted as the most likely category (58%) that shoe consumers said they were likely to purchase from for themselves or their family. Fashion shoes followed with 35%, followed by work shoes at 4%.
When it comes to channels, 24% of shoppers said they planned to purchase new shoes in a physical store, while 19% said they would shop online for in-store pick-up. The majority (57%) said they planned to shop fully online. 65% of men and 50% of women said they plan to shop online, though a larger percentage of women (24%) said they planned to buy online and pick-up in store, compared to men (14%).
Given the higher prices 76% of of shoe shoppers said they are buying from discount retailers for better prices amid inflation. 44% said they plan to shop less or put off purchases until later.