The holiday season has consumers feeling nostalgic for retro and classic footwear. In a new report, The NPD Group Sports Industry Analyst Matt Powell offered insight on how the sports industry is faring heading into holiday 2015.

According to Powell, the classics sneaker category is up 27 percent in dollar sales leading up to the holidays, a 25 point percent increase from 2014, making it the fastest-growing athletic footwear category. The category received a healthy boost by basketball and running shoe releases with a retro theme in November and December.
Millennials continue to discover the outdoors. Sales of cold and all-weather boots is up 24 percent after a dip in 2014. Hiking and light hiking is picking up pace with sales up in the double-digits. The upward trend is rolling into apparel, with outerwear sales up six percent from January-September.

“Millennials embrace the values of the outdoor industry and want to share those values in the way they dress, play, work, and express themselves. This trend has been working to the advantage of the outdoor apparel, footwear, and equipment industries in 2015,” Powell said in a statement.

Popular activities include camping and climbing, which Powell said have experienced a notable uptick in sales compared to the previous year. So far this year, sales of camping equipment increased 11 percent and sales of climbing gear grew 17 percent.

Consumers are also hopping back on the bike. Powell noted that the popularity of electric, transit/fitness and mountain bikes is driving bicycle sales up four percent in dollars and seven percent in units this holiday. As a result, cycling accessories, including lights, racks and water bottles, have grown after declines in 2014.

“This year has been an especially robust one for many major facets of the sports industry, from footwear and apparel to equipment and cycling. The holiday season can only give these markets added thrust to close out 2015 on the highest note we’ve seen in a while,” Powell added. “Outdoor is all the rage, cycling is showing some gains, and 2015 will likely go down as one of the strongest growth years in the last decade for the athletic footwear industry.”

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