Last month, it was reported that Adidas has officially passed the Nike owned Jordan brand as the #2 most popular athletic shoe brand in the U.S, with the #1 spot belonging to Nike. So why should you care? This is a pure example of just how far a proper product can take you. Throughout my whole life when the thought of sneakers came up it was pretty much Jordan and Nike up on a cliff and all of the others (Puma, Adidas, Sketchers, Converse, etc) so far down they barely made the conversation. I have vivid memories of the first days of school where everyone sported a fresh pair of Nike’s or Jordan’s. Whether it was basketball shoes, running shoes, or a casual pair, Nike was the shoe on everyone’s mind. Until now.
Although Nike still has the #1 spot, Adidas was able to make a name for themselves and disrupt the footwear market in 2017. In the first quarter of 2017, the brand pulled in $6.4 Billion which is an 18.9% increase compared to the previous year. What helped drive this growth? Sneakers such as the Superstar (photo below), the NMD Runner, the Tubular Shadow, the Alpha Bounce, and the Stan Smith. It’s certainly worth noting that last year for the first time in over a decade, Nike did not have the highest selling sneaker in the U.S. This spot belonged to the classic Adidas Superstar. One of the first steps in the Adidas takeover.
On top of simply great products that capitalize on the current sneaker trends, Adidas has also leveraged celebrity partnerships such as their highly successful Air Yeezy line of shoes with Kanye West. Often seen as the reason why Adidas is currently #2, although this isn’t exactly the case. I think if anything Kanye West has elevated the overall perception of the brand, which is difficult to attribute to direct sales figures. However, the brand has seen a bigger push with their classic Superstar and Stan Smith shoes.
POLL RESULTS (25,000+ VOTES): Boost edges Kanye as strongest contribution to adidas rise pic.twitter.com/ElxylMEKPp
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 19, 2017
Although Adidas still has a long way to go before taking over the #1 spot in North America, it is still quite impressive to see how fast they’ve grown considering Nike is like the Coca Cola of the footwear market. This meaning it’s a brand that is widely recognized as the leader in their category that is also seen as the brand that will forever reign supreme. The exciting part about two companies going head to head is that the products they deliver will simply get better. The engineering behind the shoes will be elevated, the marketing campaigns attached with every shoe release will be on point, and the brand’s will continue to push the culture forward. If I’m speaking from personal experiences, my last few shoe purchases have all been Adidas and it might just be a result of seeing them around more often.
What do you guys think? Could you see Adidas taking passing Nike in the near future?
Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed as an account coordinator for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.