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Teens shoe shoppers in favor of department stores
Aug '10
With the back-to-school retail season underway, The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, released an analysis of where and why teens purchase athletic footwear from its Retail and Brand Landscape Report Series. While the shopping destinations of choice are discount stores and mass merchants, department stores are gaining some traction with this demographic.

According to NPD's Consumer Tracking Service, teens ages 13 to 17 accounted for almost 20 percent of athletic footwear sales during the back- to- school selling season (July, August, and September) during the past 3 seasons. An examination of this age group in the Retail and Brand Landscape Report Series shows that discount stores and mass merchants rank number one in converting teen shoppers from considering them as a place to shop and to get them to make a purchase. The 2010 results represent an increase for these types of stores among male teens (from fifth last year to first this year), while for female teens they stayed in the number one position from last year to this.

The channel that seems to have benefited the most from the shifts in the retail landscape this year is the department store channel. For male teens department stores have moved up four places this year to the number two place for converting shoppers into buyers of athletic footwear. Department stores also moved up the ranking with female teen shoppers and by two places, from number six last year to number four this year.

“Successfully converting a willing shopper to a purchasing shopper is critical. In this period of changing consumer spending, retailers can't afford to lose opportunities to capture a greater share of that spending,” said Dee Warmath, senior vice president, Retail Insights at NPD. “In the case of department stores, these improvements indicate that they have made a more compelling impression on teen shoppers, are satisfying a greater share of their priorities and then getting them to make a purchase.”

In 2010, purchasers of teen athletic footwear still want a store that fits who they are from the perspective of experience and product offering. What is new is the increase in importance of being seen as 'growing in popularity,' with a greater percentage of teen athletic footwear purchases being based on how teens perceive others are viewing the product.

“These shifts in priorities mirror the broader pattern we've seen,“ noted Warmath, “Consumers are no longer looking to 'get stuff,' it is much more about getting the right stuff, and right stuff is being determined to a greater extent by what others are saying about your product and brand. Appealing to consumers desires to make an appropriate investment and finding products that satisfy the greatest share of their priorities will be key to being successful.”

NPD Group Inc

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