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US Households Prioritize Kids’ Footwear Needs

The kids are all right.

U.S. households with kids are pulling back on footwear spending more so than those without, as parents are forgoing footwear purchases for themselves, according to Circana (formerly IRI and The NPD Group). Among households with kids under the age of 18, overall footwear sales revenue declined by one percent and unit sales fell eight percent, year-over-year, in the 12 months ending February 2023. Among households without kids, sales revenue grew by 11 percent and unit sales were flat.

However, based on Consumer Tracking Service data from Circana, families have not pulled back on their kids’ footwear spending. In fact, shoes for kids was the fastest-growing segment of the footwear market. In addition, consumers spent more on kids’ footwear, thanks to average price increases. Spending per buyer grew nine percent, year-over-year, according to Circana’s Checkout data, which tracks product sales based on consumer sales receipts.

“Families are obviously feeling the pressure from inflation,” states Beth Goldstein, footwear and accessories analyst at Circana. “Without the government assistance that many households with children had previously received, they are now prioritizing their kids’ footwear replacement needs over their own.”

At a generational level, the fact that families are reallocating their footwear spending is apparent, as Millennial households with kids represented about one-quarter of total footwear market declines, and Gen Z households with kids generated half of the declines. Sales of adult footwear drove the declines among these segments, while their spending on kids’ footwear grew. In contrast, Millennial households without kids accounted for almost 45 percent of the annual growth in the market.

“As footwear brands and retailers look for growth, messaging around value for the family will be important,” Goldstein says. “These consumers are feeling the pinch due to increased prices on many of their household necessities.”

Rack Room Shoes, a destination retailer for kids’ styles, is well-positioned with its affordable
family-focused format amid this current inflationary climate.


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