Fashion, shoes and accessories: outlook for 2019



Here’s a prediction from Beth Goldstein, Executive Director, Industry Analyst, Fashion Accessories, Footwear, NPD Group, on what the year will bring:

Fashion footwear had its best performance in recent years in 2018, with dollar sales reaching over $ 60 billion and single-digit growth, according to NPD Group. Growth was driven not only by the strength of the leisure sports category, but also by a bounce in sandals and boots, as comfort has become almost synonymous with fashion.

Luggage, sunglasses and small personal accessories were the highlights of the accessories, with sales moving in the positive. Consumers’ desire for functionality and versatility, especially when it comes to travel, helped propel these companies into 2018.

The momentum for fashion footwear will likely continue, but at a slower pace than in 2018, and the accessories market will continue to stabilize, but lingering challenges will hamper broad improvements, according to Beth Goldstein, executive director, analyst at industry, fashion accessories, shoes, NPD Grouper.

The most important trends to watch in these two industries will be somewhat familiar, further reinforcing the changes that are taking effect.

• Athletics will remain dominant, but fashion will regain its share
Slower growth does not mean a contraction of the market. Sales of sports and leisure footwear will continue to climb, but as the pace of the increase slows, fashion footwear brands have the opportunity to regain stakes by incorporating the elements of comfort and style that have made consumers love their athleisure. This is what pushed the fashion space to recover in 2018.

• Function and comfort will become the norm
When it comes to their shoes and accessories, consumers have gotten into the habit of asking, “What have you been doing for me lately?” Brands that think carefully about the end use of their product and adapt to comfort, versatility and affordability will be successful. It might sound extreme, especially for fashion categories, but consumers value these features and benefits.

• Stores are promising, but online growth will continue
While online sales continue to drive the bulk of the dollar growth in fashion footwear, the proportion of growth coming from stores has increased throughout 2018. Millennials have largely contributed to this dynamic, but they is primarily isolated from branded retailers such as vertical shoe stores and outlet stores. rather than department stores. In accessories, in-store sales declined in almost all categories, while website sales increased only slightly. All of this inconsistency suggests that there is still room for improvement, both online and offline, and consumers will expect more interaction between the two.

• Social and environmental awareness will take center stage
Forty-one percent of consumers surveyed indicated that eco-friendly / sustainable materials are important when considering their shoe purchases, and that their primary social concern is human well-being. They have shown that they will support organizations that take a stand on these kinds of issues, like Nike and Patagonia.

The success of new brands such as Allbirds and Rothy’s demonstrates that innovative and sustainable materials and brands with compelling stories resonate with consumers. These issues will only increase in importance, so footwear and accessories players need to figure out how to participate here, in order to remain relevant to a new generation of consumers.

The new year has started with some political and economic uncertainty, which could dampen spending in all categories. However, brands and retailers who focus their product and marketing strategies on improving the lives of consumers will propel these industries forward in 2019.


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