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NPD Group: Casual Footwear Outperforms Dress in 2013

Though designers featured lots of pointy-toed pumps and four-inch heels in their runway shows, Americans opted for more casual and comfortable shoes last year.

According to global information company The NPD Group, U.S. retail sales of fashion (non-athletic) footwear totaled $41.52 billion in 2013, a 4% increase over the flat growth experienced in 2012.

Casual was the biggest style segment, at 46% of the total market, or $19 billion in retail sales. The Sport Leisure and Dress segments each represented 18% of the fashion footwear market, or $7.4 billion in sales, while outdoor footwear was the smallest segment at 11%, or $4.5 billion.


Within fashion footwear, outdoor and casual experienced the largest dollar sales growth, at 10% and 7%, respectively. Sport leisure footwear sales grew by 5%, while dress shoe sales dropped by 4%.


“It’s not surprising to see casual continuing to outperform dress,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “The evolution of style from business and dress attire to an ‘anything goes’ look with work attire including a mix of casual and dress, has paid off for the casual category.”

The women’s segment of fashion footwear totaled $23.8 billion in 2013, and maintained its position as the largest revenue driver in the fashion footwear industry, representing 57% of the total market. The men’s and children’s wearer segments experienced sales of $12.5 billion and $5.22 billion, representing 30% and 13% of the market, respectively.


Men were responsible for more of the growth in retail footwear sales than women were. The men’s segment grew 7% in the past year, while women’s and children’s gained only 2% each.

NPDFW1According to NPD, men’s fashion footwear styles are no longer worn by only fashion-forward shoppers, but have become more mainstream, an indication that there will continue to be new styles and trends for men that are both versatile and trendy, giving them options beyond just dress shoes and sneakers.

Total unit sales of fashion footwear rose by 4%, with men’s fashion footwear realizing the largest gain in total units sold, at 9%, followed by children’s fashion footwear at 3% and women’s fashion footwear at 2%.

Online purchases represented 19% of fashion footwear sales in 2013, and increased 15% over 2012, four times faster than overall fashion footwear sales growth. The average price of an online purchase of fashion footwear was higher than an in-store purchase.