Laying the blame on gym shoes with a price decline of 3.8 percent, data in a study by the National Sporting Goods Association shows average overall prices for 24 athletic and sports footwear categories were down by 3 percent -- $38.88 from the 2001 average of $40.17.
The NSGA said aside from gym shoes -- the largest single category -- other categories experienced significant declines, including trail running shoes with an average price of $49.68 (down 11.9 percent), aerobic shoes with an average price of $39.71 (down 7.0 percent), and cycling shoes with an average price of $53.67 (down 5.8 percent).
"The 3 percent decline in 2002, following a 0.4 percent downturn in 2001, is the steepest in the last five years and brings the year's overall average almost 2 percent below the average price of $39.70 in 1997," said Thomas B. Doyle, NSGA vice president of information and research. "The strong promotional environment in this year's marketplace accounts for the depth of the decline."
Among fitness-oriented categories, the average price for 2002 and the percent change from 2000 were: cross training, $46.10 (-1.9 percent); fitness, $42.77 (+0.4 percent); hiking, $46.42 (-3.0 percent); jogging/running, $50.99 (+1.4 percent); walking, $42.19 (-0.2 percent).
The information on average shoe prices will be included in the NSGA report, "The Sporting Goods Market in 2003," to be published by the association in May. Based on a consumer study of 100,000 U.S. households, the report summarizes 2002 retail sales totals -- in units and dollars -- for 24 types of athletic and sports shoes, as well as products in more than 20 sport categories. For more, contact www.nsga.org.