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FDRA Data Shows Rise in Footwear Spending in Rural America

A recent Footwear Consumer Spending Report found that Americans in rural areas are spending a record average amount on shoes.

The analysis, collected by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), the footwear industry’s business and trade association, showed an expansive amount of information on American footwear consumer spending, from region to race to income, and more.

FDRA compiled the report from newly released government data on U.S. spending habits, which found that the average footwear purchases made by rural households surged to a near-record $383, equal to that of suburban and urban shoppers.

“The rising spending power of rural areas clearly shows the growing and empowering reach of footwear e-commerce,” said FDRA President and CEO Matt Priest. “The data also tells us that the glass ceiling of purchasing shoes online is starting to break as we see people who are normally averse to buying footwear over the Internet begin to increase their e-commerce footwear purchases.”

Furthermore, the findings attributed the increase in footwear spending in rural America to digital online shoe-fitting innovations and more user-friendly retail websites making shoe purchasing in rural areas more convenient than having to drive miles to shop for shoes in a brick and mortar with limited product availability.

“The brands and retailers who have a strong e-commerce strategy to meet customers no matter where they live—especially when it comes to speed of delivery and flexibility in returns—will become the biggest winners in the changing retail landscape,” continued Priest.

The report also found that households that were less affluent, often rural, Asian and from the Northeast saw the biggest gains in average spending on footwear in 2016. And last year, consumer spending on footwear increased 4.2% to a record $79.5 billion, for the seventh straight record year. (2017 is set to be another record, north of $80 billion.)