In terms of U.S. dollars, the casual footwear market grew in 2012 by 2.8% to almost $19 billion, with an increase of 7.9 percent in the U.S. and a drop of 0.6 percent in the rest of the world, according to our annual analysis of the major brands in the important sector of the overall footwear market. The brands performed better in the U.S. than in the rest of the world, particularly in Europe, and because of the 8 percent average increase of the dollar against the euro, the figures would have been more positive overall if they had been calculated in terms of euros or local currencies.

The casual footwear market, which is generally called also the brown shoe market, rose by 1.3 percent in its fashion segment and by 4.1 percent in its lifestyle segment. The lifestyle segment grew by 11.3 percent in the U.S. to an estimated $3,490 million in terms of invoiced sales, continuing its upward momentum thanks to double-digit increases by Clarks, Ecco, Crocs, Sperry and Dr. Martens. It had risen by 19.7 percent in 2011 according to our previous survey for the year, where Crocs and Doc Martens.

In the fashion casual category, instead, the branded market fell by 2.2 percent to $760 million in the U.S., in spite of strong increases for Superga and its American licensee, Steve Madden, as well as Camper and Fly London. Here also, we have decided to include Skechers for the first time into the chart, although this brand is also featured in our athletic footwear chart, along with Crocs and Timberland, because they are also sold in the sporting goods stores. The U.S. fashion casual market had risen by 16.2 percent in 2011.

In Europe and other markets outside the U.S., including the more dynamic Asian market, the lifestyle casual brands suffered a decline of 2.1 percent in terms of dollars to $6.7 billion, but the overall figure and those of many brands would have been better on a currency-neutral basis. Sales declines in dollar terms for important brands such as Geox and Stonefly offset major gains by Crocs and some other smaller brands including The Flexx, which we have added to our chart for the first time.

On the same basis, the fashion casual market dropped by 1.6 percent to $745 million outside the U.S. in spite of major increases for Steve Madden and Analpa, an interesting company that we are going to talk about in the next issue. Like Floris van Bommel, it's new to the chart. The market was dragged down in particular by sales declines in terms of dollars by Skechers and Ugg, and to a less extent by the European Dockers brand owned by Gerli.

In terms of local currencies, the companies in these segment posted better sales results and the overall market improved outside the U.S. In 2011, it had risen by 9.5 percent in the lifestyle segment and by 8.1 percent in the fashion segment.

The actual or estimated scores of the individual brands are posted on pages 3 and 5 of this issue. For some brands, such as Birkenstock, we have obtained better estimates than before, but we are taking guesses for big players such as Wolverine Worldwide, whose top management has decided not to provide for the time being a breakdown for the old and new brands in its portfolio.

We have been waiting for several weeks to obtain more precise figures for Wolverine's brands, and this has delayed the publication of this annual survey of ours. In the end, we have decided to run estimates based on the guidance that Wolverine has given for its Lifestyle and Heritage segments prior to its acquisition of Collective Brands, trying to extrapolate the revenues of its licensees, which are very important when it comes to brands such as Hush Puppies.

The figures in our charts are based on published reports and input from the management. They refer to wholesale revenues or invoiced sales of footwear for each brand or group of brands, to the exclusion of other types of products, but they also include their reported retail sales, which are growing as a percentage of the total turnover. We add the sales of any licensees on order to establish the brands' global market shares. All the values are translated into U.S. dollars at the average rate for the year.

We have eliminated Mephisto and Joseph Seibel from the lifestyle casual chart because their management declined to provide any guidance, but we hope that they will come back with their numbers in the future. We welcome figures from other brands in order to facilitate benchmarking and our research. Next time, we'll probably include for the first time CCILU, the new brand of Killick Datta, whose sales are expected to grow to around $25 million from $5 million last year.

On the whole, the global brown shoe market performed less well than the more technical-oriented athletic shoe market but better than the rugged outdoor footwear market, which was partly affected by very poor weather conditions last year. As we have already reported in two other publications of ours, Sporting Goods Intelligence and The Outdoor Industry Compass, the athletic market rose by 6.3 percent in 2012, backed also by strong marketing and the publicity around some sports mega-events. The rugged outdoor footwear market declined instead by 2.4 percent.

Click here to download the Fashion casual footwear chart
Click here to downlaod the Lifestyle casual footwear chart