According to a report from NPD, athletic footwear and activewear sales declined in the low-teens in the first six months of the year.
In athletic footwear, sales for January and February combined were up in the low-single-digits but fell 40 percent in March and around 50 percent in April when COVID-19 arrived. May’s athletic footwear sales improved to a low-single-digit decline, and June bounced back up by about 25 percent. June’s gains were driven by an increase in limited-edition footwear releases.
Similar declines in the half were seen across the men’s, women’s, and kids’ categories.
By channel, mid-tier department stores and shoe chains were down about 20 percent in the first six months of the year, while athletic specialty/sporting goods declined in the high-singles. Premium department stores saw a low single-digit decline.
Sport lifestyle, the largest category, declined in the mid-singles, though it was helped by the additional releases.
Performance running shoes were down in the low-teens, but there were encouraging signs in June. NPD noted that during recessionary periods, running typically does better than the overall market. Performance basketball continued to struggle with sales down around 20 percent.
Sport slides, which continue to ride the comfort trend, declined in the mid-singles, while outdoor and water sandals were down more than a third. Skate shoes declined by about 25 percent.
Looking at brand specifics for the first half of the year, Nike brand declined in the high-singles, while Brand Jordan grew in the low-teens on account of increased releases. Converse declined by about one-third. Nike Inc. saw a sales decline in the mid-singles, but the company captured market share.
Adidas and New Balance declined in the mid-teens. Skechers was down in the high-teens. Under Armour, Saucony and Vans each dropped more than 20 percent. Asics was down in the low-teens.
Running was a theme among the top-performing brands year-to-date through June. Brooks had a high-teens increase, Puma grew in the high-singles, Hoka One One was up more than 75 percent, and On Running sales more than doubled.
The top-selling sneaker styles for the first half of the year, ranked on dollar sales, according to NPD are Nike Air Force 1 Low, Nike Air Max 270, Nike Air Max 97, Nike Air VaporMax Plus, Nike Revolution 5, Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit 3, Adidas NMD R1, Jordan XIII Retro, Jordan I High OG, and Nike Air Max 90.
Activewear saw a low-single-digit increase in January/February followed by declines greater than 35 percent in March and April. The May sales decline softened in the mid-singles. June grew by about 10 percent.
Women’s sales were down in the high-singles, men’s declined in the low-teens, kids were down in the mid-teens.
Private label (the aggregate of all retailers’ private brands) grew in the first half. NPD noted that retailers do not have the same flexibility with private brands as they do with their wholesale partners and, therefore, had to take more price action to clear inventory.
Nike, the largest brand in the activewear space, performed better than the overall market in the first half of the year and, though down 9 percent, performed better than the other top brands including Under Armour and Adidas. Under Armour activewear declined in the mid-teens; Adidas was down about 20 percent; Hanes grew about 25 percent; and Fruit of the Loom dropped in the low-singles. The latter two brands took advantage of the fact that some of their largest customers were considered “essential” and were open through March and April.
Photo courtesy Nike/Anthony Georgis