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Sneaker Wars: How Adidas Was Able To Overtake The Jordan Brand

Sneaker Wars: How Adidas Was Able To Overtake The Jordan Brand

“But the Yeezys jumped over the Jumpman”

Those were the words of Kanye West in 2012 as he rapped about his shoe brand surpassing Nike Inc's (NYSE: NKE) Jordan Brand shoe sales. Five years later, it actually happened. Matt Powell, a NPD Sports Industry analyst, tweeted that this is something he never thought would happen in his lifetime.

If we take a look at the chart below from LikeFolio, we can see the purchase intent (solid lines) for Nike has been on a steady decline, while purchase intent for adidas AG (OTC: ADDYY) has been growing fast over the past five years.


Adidas has outperformed Nike in purchase intent mentions and stock performance

This massive consumer shift has paid dividends for Adidas shareholders, as the stock (dotted lines) has taken off in the last two years with shares tripling as it continues to steal market share away from Nike.

So, how did Adidas overtake the Jordan brand as the No. 2 sports footwear brand in the US? Some are saying Kanye’s Yeezy brand is the reason. Others say Jordan’s have simply lost their luster over the years.

“Buzz on social media often leads to sneaker sales," according to Complex. "But while Kanye sports over 22 million Twitter followers, Michael Jordan doesn’t use social media at all. Although they’re not the same thing, popularity on socials and overall cachet often run hand in hand.”

The theory seems to hold water. Retro Jordan demand has fallen and the brand is taking a hit, meanwhile, Adidas is pumping out sneakers that kids want to buy. Demand for some of Nike’s biggest shoe platforms — Jordan, Roshe and signature basketball — have all declined.

Why the decline for Nike? Some speculate the Jordan releases that were once elusive are now more widespread, making it less exciting for consumers to buy.

"The sentiment on Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) is that Jordan is not cool anymore, which is overblown," Powell said. "But there is no question that retro Jordans [are] not selling out immediately like they used to.”

Another reason Nike might be coming up short is weak shoe sales in retail stores like FootLocker, Inc. (NYSE: FL) FinishLine Inc (NASDAQ: FINL) and Dicks Sporting Goods Inc (NYSE: DKS).

Will consumers come back to the Jordan brand? Time will tell, and LikeFolio will continue tracking consumer behavior to alert investors if and when it happens.

Andy Swan is the co-founder of LikeFolio


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