French sport shoe market sprints ahead

Nike Air Max 90

Just spotted a new NPD research report about the French sports shoe market, which made me remember that France may be going through tough times at the moment but let’s not forget, it’s a big, vibrant market.

The fact is that sports footwear is on a roll in France, driven by the fashion market (44% of sports shoes are bought for everyday wear rather than sport) and the popularity of basketball styles.

In the last year, sales across the category have risen 12% to €2.7bn. To put that in context, it’s nearly 30% of the total French footwear market. And according to NPD data, only 10% of that growth is about volume with higher values accounting for the other 2%. The average price is now €42 a pair.

And don’t forget the popularity of the skate shoe (thanks Céline). The report doesn’t mention them, maybe because so many are now sold as pure fashion (rather than sport) shoes.  But with every high-end, middle-market and mass-market retailer now offering some kind of skate shoe, they’re a key part of the market too.

Back with NPD’s report. He research group said sports shoe brands have ramped up their marketing spend to target the fashion customer with initiatives such as artist and designer collaborations, special events, and new brand ambassadors and it’s obviously paying off – although it’s interesting that the styles driving market growth aren’t necessarily new. The most popular shoes include Adidas’s Stan Smith Vintage, its Super Star, Nike’s Air Max 90 and Converse’s All Star low-cuts, as well as newer, tech-based Nike Roshe Run and Adidas ZX Flux.

And while men are adding more to this market growth than women (accounting for 33%), women are still adding 25% so let’s not forget the effect the athleisure trend is having.

What’s happening trend-wise?

  • Apparently, leather is out in favour of suede, or fabrics like mesh.
  • Blue has seen 30% growth over the last 12 months with white second on 15%.
  • Running shoes are growing, representing 20% of sales (or 40% for women) behind football boots but ahead of hiking boots.
  • The most popular running shoes include the Adidas Supernova Glide Boost, Asics Gel Cumulus, Nike Air Zoom Pegasus, Puma Carson, Reebok Sublite Escape and Salomon Speed Cross.

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