The European market for sports shoes dropped by 5 percent in the footwear segment, says NPD Group in a press release. NPD, which relies on extensive consumer and retail surveys to obtain its data, points out that the actual declines have taken place in the fashion or lifestyle segment of the market. Purchases of sports shoes used for sport increased by 5 percent in volume across the five markets it studies, compared with the same quarter one year ago. Instead, consumers declared that their unit purchases of sports shoes for everyday use fell by 7 percent; A similar pattern was seen in the apparel sector. Renaud Vaschalde, the French-based sports market expert of NPD, concluded that the current economic crisis is mainly affecting the lower-priced products in this category because they are regarded as a superfluous expenditure by price-conscious customers who prefer to spend less on unbranded items, such as those they can find at H&M or Zara (more at www.npd.com).