With advances in average prices outnumbering declines two to one for the 22 categories of athletic and sports footwear surveyed by NSGA, the average price point for all footwear rose 1.1% in 2004. The average price rose to $39.32 in 2004 from $38.88 in 2003.

More than 2% increases in major categories, gym shoes/sneakers (2.6%), jogging/running (2.6%), and fashion sneakers (2.3%), led the increase. Among major categories, only basketball shoes showed a decline (-2.6%).

“The 1.1% increase in 2004 followed downturns in the three previous years, 0.3%, 3.0% and 0.4% respectively,” said NSGA Vice President of Information & Research Thomas B. Doyle. “However, the year’s overall average did not reach the 2000 average price of $40.32, the highest in the history of the NSGA survey. The weaker promotional environment and exciting new products probably accounts for the growth.”

In spite of a 1.5% decline in their average price, hunting boots held the No. 1 position as the most expensive shoe in the 2004 sports footwear market. The $63.87 average hunting boot price point placed it ahead of golf, basketball and running/jogging shoes, the average prices of which were $60.34 (0.7%), $53.11 (-2.6%) and $51.40 (2.6%), respectively.

The average price for 2004 and the percent change from 2003 for other shoe categories are: aerobic, $41.54 (+4.1%); baseball/softball, $39.59 (-2.4%); boat/deck, $30.25 (+2.9%); bowling, $37.92 (+1.7%); cheerleading, $35.38 (-1.1%); cross training, $45.86 (-0.2%); fitness, $42.42 (+1.6%); football, $46.36 (+1.4%); hiking, $47.83 (6.3%); skateboard, $44.41 (-2.7%); soccer, $33.97 (+1.1%); sport sandals, $23.44 (+1.6%); tennis, $35.14 (+2.9%); volleyball, $54.04 (n/a); walking, $42.02 (+1.0%); and water sport, $14.15 (-0.7%).

The information on average shoe prices will be included in the NSGA report “The Sporting Goods Market in 2005,” to be published by the Association in May. Based on a consumer study of 100,000 U.S. households, the report summarizes 2004 retail sales totals-in units and dollars-for 22 types of athletic and sports shoes as well as products in more than 20 sport categories.

Also featured are purchaser demographics-annual family income, age and gender of product user, education of household head and sales according to region of the country. Place-of-purchase data allow for analysis of the industry’s channels of distribution. Consumer purchases on the Internet are reported.

The report, which NSGA has published for almost two decades, provides selected product sales history for the last 10 years. This allows the analysis of long-term trends. Brand share reports on individual shoe categories are available separately.

The 78-page report is prepared for NSGA by Irwin Broh & Associates, a research company nationally recognized for its work in the sports and leisure field. Cost of the report to NSGA members is $225, to non-members, $325. Pre-publication discounts are now available. Sustaining NSGA retailer/dealer members and manufacturer members receive the report free. For additional information, contact NSGA, 1601 Feehanville Drive, Suite 300, Mount Prospect, Ill. 60056-6035. Phone: (847) 296-6742; fax: (847) 391-9827; or visit the NSGA website, www.nsga.org.