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Running Rising, Apparel Moving to Seasonal Need

Could the COVID-19 pandemic be the starting line for a second running boom in the U.S.? Recent data pulled by Klaviyo, a marketing platform focused on e-commerce, shows huge growth in online running shoe sales in late March as the coronavirus closed gyms across the country and people were asked to stay at home.

Average daily online orders for running shoes among retailers who sell the segment rose 171 percent between March 15 and May 18th when compared to the pre-COVID period of Jan. 1 to March 1. Year-over-year orders for the March 15 to May 18 period were up 226 percent, the website’s data shows. Meanwhile, average daily online orders of hiking boots were down 53 percent during the COVID period compared to the first two months of 2020 and 25 percent year-over-year.

Contrast Klaviyo’s sales information with last week’s U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report that showed monthly U.S. footwear demand reached a low in April that hadn’t been seen since 1995.

On the apparel front, NPD research shows a slow rise in summer seasonal and basic apparel in recent weeks. The summer category, while lower than in 2019, posted a five-point dollar share gain for the week ended May 2. And basic apparel accounted for 25 percent of the overall challenged apparel market during the last week of April versus 17 percent in the year-ago period.