LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Technavio’s latest report on the athletic footwear market in the US provides an analysis on the most important trends expected to impact the market outlook from 2016-2020. Technavio defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline.
Mantri Charan Kumar, a lead analyst from Technavio, specializing in research on retail goods and services sector, says, “The high penetration of athletic footwear in the US stems from the increasing participation of the population in fitness activities like running, hiking, trailing, aerobics, and training. The population segment belonging to the 25-45-year age group has the highest participation rates in such events, and a greater number of women are now participating in these events. In addition, many themed races and obstacle events are gaining popularity in the US in recent times.”
The top three emerging trends driving the athletic footwear market in the US according to Technavio consumer and retail research analysts are:
- Increasing use of eco-friendly products
- Innovations in sole technology
- Growing preference for premium and customized products
Increasing use of eco-friendly products
With the growing need for the preservation of the environment, most consumers today have started demanding sustainable products. Vendors are catering to this demand by increasingly focusing on manufacturing products that can reduce the negative effects on the environment. As a result, organic cotton, recycled rubber, plastic materials, and water-based adhesives are replacing traditional leather, synthetic rubber, nylon, polyurethane, and other synthetic materials in the manufacturing of sports apparel and athletic footwear.
Building on such environmental initiatives, Adidas developed a strategy that aimed to reduce the environmental effects of its products by 15% by the end of 2015. The company plans to cover its entire value chain from product development to sales under this newly developed strategy. Similarly, Nike has developed a shoe recycling program, which aims to reduce the carbon footprints of its products. The company also developed the MAKING app in 2014, which helps manufacturers monitor environmental concerns about their products, select eco-friendly materials, and produce more sustainable products. New Balance, an international player, is experimenting to develop a zero waste production system by reducing the number of materials cut during the manufacture of apparel or footwear, thus controlling the amount of waste. Mizuno, another prominent vendor, is using resin as a raw material for manufacturing running shoes.
Innovations in sole technology
Growing competition among global players is paving the way for the development of innovative athletic footwear with a focus on improving user-experience. Individuals purchasing athletic footwear seek cost-effective and high-quality products that can improve their running and playing skills. Consequently, leading players are launching products with advanced technologies, which can improve the overall experience of their consumers. The latest technology that is gaining popularity is the use of polyurethane capsules in the manufacture of athletic footwear. These capsules provide the runner with a buoyancy, allowing runners to expend less energy. The Adidas Energy Boost 2.0 is one such running shoe that is manufactured using polyurethane capsules.
Some shoes are also manufactured with built-in sensors to track the speed, distance covered, and calories burned. Puma's RS series allows users to connect their shoes to an Apple II and upload distances they ran and calories burnt. Another example of an innovative running shoe is the Ampla Fly, which boasts of a carbon-fiber spring-like flange under the sole that helps propel a runner forward.
Growing preference for premium and customized products
Most manufacturers of athletic footwear are currently focusing on customization. Retailers like Amazon have been garnering recurring gains from doing so for their huge consumer base using Big Data. Vendors are increasingly focusing on providing consumers with customized products, thereby, elevating customer loyalty and engagement. About 25% of the footwear purchased online is customized, which aggregates to USD 2 billion worth of all customized footwear sales.
Such changing preferences of consumers with regards to comfort and style have resulted in the increase in the demand for customized shoes in the athletic footwear market in the US. Reebok, for instance, launched Rbkcustom, which allows consumers to customize their shoes with patriotic prints. Similarly, Nike launched NikeID, which also offers shoe customization.
Adding to the increased demand and need for customized athletic footwear, there is also a high demand for premium products among consumers in general. Higher prices of products influence consumer perceptions about the product. “A high priced product is perceived to offer better quality, better comfort, and better performance as compared to a product that is priced at a lower rate. Demand for such premium and customized shoes is expected to increase further during the forecast period,” says Mantri.
Browse Related Reports:
- Global Running Gear Market 2016-2020
- Running Apparel and Footwear Market in the US 2015-2019
- Global Footwear Market 2015-2019
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