NPD: U.S. Shoe Sales Decline in Q2 Despite Momentum in Fashion Styles

Footwear retail sales in the U.S. declined in Q2, though fashion shoe sales outperformed other categories in terms of growth.

U.S. footwear sales were $10.7 billion in Q2, marking a 4% decline from 2021, according to data from The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service, which excludes DTC sales. The decline comes as general consumer prices soar at a more than 40-year high, with footwear prices rising at the fastest rate in decades. Footwear prices grew 5.8% in June compared to last year, FDRA found, marking the fifteenth straight month of above-trend increases in footwear, which are typically 0.7% year-over-year.

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By category, leisure footwear sales dropped 11% to $4.8 billion and performance footwear sales dropped 7% to $1.8 billion. Fashion shoe sales, on the other hand, were up 8% to $4.2 billion, as consumers spent more on occasion-based footwear.

“Demand for footwear remained soft in the second quarter compared to last year and a slowdown in average price increases had an adverse effect on sales revenue for the quarter,” said Beth Goldstein, fashion footwear and accessories analyst at NPD. “The slowdown in average price growth was likely due to increased promotional activity and a product mix shift from leisure sneakers to fashion footwear, as consumers refreshed their wardrobes for social occasions.”

In Q2, fashion shoes, sandals and walking shoes saw the most growth based on sales revenue among any other category.

NPD in July found that between January and May of 2022, high heels gained market share over lower heels, driven by the return to events and occasions. For men, hybrid footwear styles that blended sneaker soles with more formal silhouettes made up about one third of the sales for oxfords, drivers, and loafers between January and May, up from the less than 20% in 2019, NPD Retail Tracking data found.

The data tracked with what retailers are saying. Executives from Macy’s, Nordstrom and Caleres in Q1 observed a shift to dressy and casual footwear and apparel, as more people engaged in social events and in-person work.

When it comes to the back-to-school season, sneakers usually make up about 80% of kid’s footwear sales, which will likely be the case again this year, NPD found.

“We can expect sneakers to dominate sales again this year, but clogs remain popular, as do slippers — which are now being worn at home and in school,” said Goldstein.

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