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Tiffany Montgomery
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More data about the skate shoe market

By Tiffany Montgomery
March 05, 2008 6:08 AM

I've reported before that there appears to be some softening in skate shoe sales.

On its monthly sales calls, Zumiez, one of the industry's largest customers, has noted the slowdown, and other retailers here and there have told me the same thing. PacSun also informed skate companies that the 900-plus chain is dropping closed toe shoes all together.

Here's some data that paints a different picture.

The NPD Group Inc., a respected research firm that provides retail and consumer data, reported recently that skate shoes are one of the fastest growing sectors of the total footwear market. Skateboard shoe sales grew 34 percent in 2007, according to the report.

The NPD Group obtains its data from its Consumer Tracking Service, an online panel of 3 million U.S. consumers.

"Skateboard shoes are still a small share of the overall athletic footwear market, just under 8 percent, but from what consumers tell me, the crossover application of street and skate continue to drive the youth trends in footwear, and that will likely continue for most of 2008," Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of the NPD Group Inc., said in a press release.

Overall, the footwear market grew 2 percent to $44.4 billion in 2007. To grab sales in 2008, Cohen stressed footwear needs to be "passionate" to drive impulse buys.

Also of note: a big shift to online sales. Brick and mortar shoe sales showed minimal growth in 2007, while online athletic footwear sales grew double digits.

"Online has become an important destination for consumers to make shoe purchases. Free overnight shipping and free return shipping plus all your favorite brands in one convenient place," said Cohen.

Total US Footwear Market

2007: $44.4 billion

Growth from 2006: 2 percent

Men's Footwear Market

2007: $16.8 billion

Growth from 2006: 0 percent

Women's Footwear Market

2007: $22 billion

Growth from 2006: 3 percent

Children's Footwear Market

2007: $5.7 billion

Growth from 2006: 3 percent

Source: The NPD Group, Inc./Consumer Tracking Service

Another bright spot is the sale of all-weather boots.

"Brands like UGG continued to make wish lists for holiday as many of the copy cat products failed to show up this year. UGG and others made an impact by staying the course. These brands leveraged diverse styling as well as the classics to keep the consumer engaged," Cohen said.

Leisure/Low Performance Boots

2007: $204.5 million

Growth from 2006: 59 percent

All Weather Boots

2007: $203.6 million

Growth from 2006: 62 percent

Source: The NPD Group, Inc./Retail Tracking Service

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