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Survey: In-Store Sneaker Buying Will Dominate

By bob mcgee – april 17, 2017

An estimated 64 percent of U.S. consumers will buy athletic shoes this spring and more than 75 percent of them will make their purchases inside a brick-and-mortar location, according to the 2017 Spring Shoe Sales Survey conducted for the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America. But 52 percent say they will spend less on their spring footwear this year with 69 percent intending to dish out less than $100 and 23 percent between $100 and $250.The survey was done on behalf of the trade group from April 4-6 by The Emerson College Polling Society.  

Overall, 68 percent of survey respondents will purchase new shoes this season — 46 percent “very likely” to buy for themselves or family — with 39 percent seeking out comfortable, casual sneakers and 26 percent buying performance athletic shoes for the gym or sports. Sports performance shoes will be most popular in the Southern U.S. and among Hispanics. Meanwhile, an estimated 14 percent will buy fashion or dress shoes, 11 percent work will buy boots/shoes and 6 percent fashion boots.

As to where most shoe shopping will be done, 77 percent intend to make a purchase at a physical store and 23 percent online where Amazon (47%) dominates and is followed in popularity by brand (16%) and retail websites (10%). Among brick-and-mortar locations, chains such as DSW and outlet stores are the favorite destinations of 44 percent followed by local family-owned shoe stores (17%), big box discounters such as Target (15%) and department stores (13%).  

Among those shopping for shoes online, price (21%) and variety (18%) are the driving influences followed by convenience (12%). Not fitting properly (66%) remains the biggest concern of online footwear shoppers followed by shipping issues (6%).  

By gender, women clearly favor making their footwear purchases in store (85%) versus online (15%) and younger groups are more likely to be comfortable making their shoe selections online led by the 18- to 29-year old set (63.6% online) followed by those 30-39 (32.5% online). Conversely, those between the ages of 50 and 59 make 95.5 percent of shoe purchases at a physical store and 93.4 percent of 60- to 69-year olds do the same thing.

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