Nov 5, 2020
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NPD predicts U.S. footwear sales will recover in 2021

Nov 5, 2020

In a new report, American market research company The NPD Group has predicted that the United States footwear industry will recover through 2021, after sales took a dive in 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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NDP's 'Future of Footwear' report predicts that fashion footwear will see renewed sales during the coming year as consumers begin to return to some of their pre-Covid behaviors. 

Meanwhile, the women’s slippers category—which saw popularity this year alongside loungewear as remote work became the norm—is likely to be a popular holiday gift item and will remain strong in 2021, possibly outperforming 2020 sales, the company said. 

“A return to the office and store re-openings will likely reignite some demand for fashion footwear, although the focus will remain on casual and comfort-oriented styles," said Beth Goldstein, NPD’s fashion footwear and accessories analyst.

"The pandemic has only amplified the importance of these attributes, as the blending of work-from-home and remote learning has led consumers to favor comfort to wear any time of the day.” 

Performance footwear is also expected to see growth in 2021, the report said, with a particular focus on road running shoes. 

“Greater attention to health and fitness has been a silver lining in 2020," said Matt Powell, NPD’s sports industry advisor. "A number of sports and recreation-related categories have benefitted from this, including performance running.

"In addition to easier year-over-year comparisons, which may factor into the growth, running shoes are poised to outperform the overall market as consumers continue turning to the activity to stay active yet socially distant. With new participants, brands and retailers should focus on their assortment of more mainstream product and educating new runners on the importance of having this activity-based shoe in their line-up," Powell added.

Although footwear sales are expected to decline in the mid-single digits during Q4 of 2020, the report predicts that the industry will see an increase overall, though sales will remain below 2019 levels.  

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