Up against last year’s stimulus-fueled comps, footwear industry unit sales and revenue both declined in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022 versus the previous year. U.S. sales revenue fell by 3%, unit sales declined by 12%, as average prices increased by 11%. Compared to Q1 2019, revenue for the quarter was 3% higher and unit sales were 10% lower.
In addition to the missing additional income from stimulus money, which is forcing some consumers to make tough choices, inflation fears might be driving some of the softness in the footwear industry this year.
However, there is also a larger trend at play: sales for some of the top footwear brands have softened, versus last year, and underperforming compared to the rest of the market. There is a lot of movement taking place in the footwear industry, particularly in the athletic space, as up-and-coming brands and new styles and technologies join the market. We could be seeing the beginnings of a seismic shift in the industry.
Footwear sales by category
Revenue from women’s footwear in Q1 increased by 4%, men’s declined 6%, and children’s fell by 12%. The average selling price (ASP) for women’s footwear increased more than other categories, which fueled its revenue increase. The women’s market also benefited from improved fashion footwear sales, while the men’s and children’s markets were more reliant on sport leisure footwear, which experienced softer sales.