It almost goes without saying that the real winner in the USA is Nike. They always seem to focus on their homeland first and foremost and as a result see a huge amount of success. Their recently reported sales numbers (up 15% compared to last year, and up 16% this quarter in North America) are staggering examples of their success.
German giant adidas has recently put a bigger emphasis on growing the business stateside. By moving the brand’s Creative Director Paul Gaudio to the USA , and by poaching Mark Miner, Denis Dekovic, and Marc Dolce to start a new Brooklyn based design studio it is clear that the trefoil has decided to try to carve back some of the market share it has lost in the USA in recent years. It is also worth noting that new head of adidas America Mark King has put an emphasis on “American Sports”. He sees adidas as being a more successful brand stateside if they can appeal to the sports that the Americans view as their pastimes. The brand will likely have to wait about another 13 or so months before any of these changes come into effect with how the cycles work in the industry (and likely longer before the three new designers are able to influence product), but the plan is in place.
Puma’s recent signing of Rihanna is sure to breathe some much need life into the brand, but it is hardly more than a quick-fix. They will need to really shake things up if they want to compete at a higher level. That said, the global Puma Labs they have in place at Foot Lockers around the world have definitely helped the brand return to prominence.
Skechers is the true underdog story that no one was really expecting. Their numbers (50% gain in brand share in April 2014, and best first quarter net sales ever) are shocking to say the least. They have seen incredible growth, and as they are able to afford more resources it will be interesting to see what they are able to do in the USA and around the world in 2015.
Under Armour is using a similar strategy to Mark King’s idea of trying to win in American sports. They have been growing in areas like basketball, and the recent battle they lost with Nike over Kevin Durant was their memo to the sports world that they aren’t just the new kid on the block anymore. Expect to see growth behind Steph Curry in basketball, and their sponsorship of university football teams in the USA. They are in need however of a veritable superstar(s) to back their campaigns if they are going to seriously challenge Nike in any of the “American sports”. They are on the right track however recently passing adidas to cruise into second for sales in the USA.
(Image courtesy of High Snobiety)