Footwear and apparel: the NPD Group reveals the latest sector trends

Footwear and apparel: the NPD Group reveals the latest sector trends

The NPD Group monitors the sales of sports footwear and apparel in many countries around the world. For more information call the NPD Group sports team on 02082 371316


In the 12 months to March 2015, across the big five countries (Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) the total sports apparel and footwear market grew by five per cent compared to the preceding 12 months. 

Breaking out the two sectors, footwear sales grew at eight per cent, more than twice the rate of apparel, which grew at three per cent. While the first quarter of 2016 brought yearly performance down slightly, the growth rate overall during the last 12 months is encouraging, as it indicates that the market is still generally accelerating when taking a longer-term view over the past few years.

Key growth drivers
Utilising NPD’s Consumer Panel data, we can isolate several key drivers to growth in the market, ranging from demographic characteristics and promotional activity to end usage profiles and purchase motivators.

For instance, focusing on the age of footwear users across the big five, end users above the age of 45 represent the most significant age bracket, both in terms of how dynamic their rate of growth was over the last year (13 per cent) and how much additional value they have brought to the market over the last three years (over £300 million).

Running category
One of the key categories driving growth in the market is running, both in the case of footwear and apparel. But what distinctions can we make based on consumer age?

As far as usage is concerned, younger consumers between the ages of 13 and 24 are more likely to use footwear made for running for leisure and in non-athletic settings, while older consumers, particularly those between the ages of 35 and 44, are more likely to use running footwear for running.

Strict sports usage in this latter age segment represents roughly half of the value they contribute to running footwear, while in the younger age group it’s around a third. 

Focusing on those who use running footwear for sports, those consumers aged 35-44 and 45-plus are, on average, spending more per pair of shoes than their younger counterparts - £51 and £53, respectively, against an average expenditure of £46 overall and an expenditure of £37 for those aged 18 to 24. 

Brand differences
Key differences by brand also emerge when analysing age groupings within running footwear.

In the case of those aged 18 to 24, Nike and adidas feature prominently in terms of the value per cent share they together represent (60 per cent), while their share among older consumers, though still considerable, drops to 40 per cent among consumers over the age of 45, as brands like ASICS, Salomon and Brooks command greater shares, while trading at higher prices on average. 


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