Trends & Features

Outperforming the market

For the 12 months ending March 2013, the UK sports apparel and footwear market saw no growth when compared to the preceding 12-month period.

When you take into account that the sector experienced significant growth both before and during London 2012, this could be a worrying statistic for brands and retailers – and might indicate uncertainty in the near future.

But it’s not all bad news. Men and women aged 45 and over are increasing their spend, especially when it comes to footwear.

In fact, in footwear alone this segment grew by over three per cent for the 12 months ending March 2013.

There are some distinct differences between the 45 and over age group and younger consumers, with different brands and retailers enjoying varying degrees of popularity.

For example, Nike and adidas are the two dominant brands among younger consumers, accounting for over 40 per cent of total sports market spend.

For older consumers, however, the two brands account for less than 25 per cent of total spending.

Older consumers over-index on supermarket brands, own brands and outdoor brands such as Berghaus.

When it comes to price, older consumers pay more for footwear and less for apparel than under 45s.

High street
Among retailers, JD Sports and Sports Direct have benefitted from the disappearance of JJB Sports from the high street, and both retail chains have been able to attract increased spending from consumers aged 45 and over.

Apparel, more so than footwear, has driven this growth, with the running category being the primary beneficiary.

45 and over consumers are spending more in JD Sports and Sports Direct and reducing their spend outside of these retailers. It should be noted that younger consumers are also behaving in a similar way.

Perhaps surprisingly, if we look at how 45 and over consumers shop, they are increasing their online spending at a faster rate than younger consumers.

For the 12 months ending March 2013, internet shopping accounted for about 18 per cent of total footwear and apparel spending for both groups.

Understanding some of these key differences between consumer segments is critical for brands and retailers to ensure they have diversified revenue streams across all age groups.

The NPD Group’s Sports Consumer Panel can help companies identify opportunities and threats within the sports footwear and apparel marketplace.

The NPD Group monitors the sales of sports footwear and apparel in many countries around the world. For more information visit or call the NPD Group sports team on 01932 355580.

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