A decline in the average price in a key shoe category depressed the average price paid for all athletic and sports footwear in 2002, according to data released by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA). For 2002, the average price paid for all 24 categories of sport and athletic footwear surveyed fell to $38.88, a decline of 3% from the 2001 average price of $40.17.

A decline of 3.8% in the single largest category, gym shoes & sneakers (average price $26.53), led the overall decline. Other categories experiencing significant declines included trail running shoes, average price $49.68 (-11.9%), aerobic shoes, average price $39.71 (-7.0%), and cycling shoes, average price $53.67 (-5.8%).

“The 3.0% decline in 2002, following a 0.4% downturn in 2001, is the steepest in the last five years and brings the year’s overall average almost two percent below the average price of $39.70 in 1997,” NSGA Vice President of Information & Research Thomas B. Doyle said. “The strong promotional environment in this year’s marketplace accounts for the depth of the decline.”

In spite of a 0.5% decrease in their average price, hunting boots held the No. 1 position as the most expensive shoe in the 2002 sports footwear market. The $64.79 average hunting boot price point placed it ahead of golf, basketball and cycling shoes, the average prices of which were $62.12 (+0.4%), $56.12 (-2.2%), and 53.67 (-5.8%), respectively.

The average price for 2002 and the percent change from 2000 for other shoe categories are: baseball/softball, $39.73 (-2.9%); boat/deck, $30.91 (+2.7%); bowling, $36.79 (+2.4%); cheerleading, $36.91 (+1.8%); cross training, $46.10 (-1.9%); fitness, $42.77 (+0.4%); football, $45.15 (-2.9%); hiking, $46.42 (-3.0%); jogging/running, $50.99 (+1.4%); skateboard, $44.74 (+0.3%); soccer, $34.06 (-3.6%); sport sandals, $24.33 (-0.1%); tennis, $33.87 (+3.0%); track, $47.28 (0.0%); volleyball, $53.28 (-0.8%); walking, $42.19 (-0.2%); water sport, $13.77 (-3.4%); and fashion sneakers, $32.14 (first year surveyed).

The information on average shoe prices will be included in the NSGA report “The Sporting Goods Market in 2003,” to be published by the Association in May. Based on a consumer study of 100,000 U.S. households, the report summarizes 2002 retail sales totals-in units and dollars-for 24 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.