NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. (March 3) — Consumer spending for athletic footwear rose 3.1 percent in 2004 to $16.4 billion, although the average price per pair dropped slightly from 2003, according to new research released by SGMA International, formerly the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.
Consumers actually bought 4.5 percent more pairs of athletic shoes in 2004 than the year before but spent an average of 1.6 percent less per pair, according to data from NPD Group.
The average price paid fell to $33.18 in 2004, in line with the long-term trend for this category, which has experienced declining average prices for many years as retailers battle for sales and consumers are increasingly attracted to lower-priced non-performance styles.
"Retailers reported during the year that consumer interest was growing in higher-priced performance footwear, and this was borne out by NPD research," said Gregg Hartley, vice president of SGMA International, which reported the findings. Spending for "marquee" athletic shoes — those priced $100 or more — rose 18 percent during the year to almost $600 million as running and basketball styles led the way.
Running shoes remained the most popular category in 2004, representing 28.9 percent of spending in those stores that are most likely to offer performance styles. Basketball shoes were the second most popular category, accounting for 22.2 percent of spending.