NMD, Ultra Boost, Yeezy – you’d have noticed lately that there’s been a deluge of heated and hyped adidas drops lately. It seems like at least once a week the brand with the Three Stripes releases a model that garners a mass exodus of wallet-bound expendable income – especially when it comes to NMDs (a new colourway would have to drop at least once a week). From a sneaker media perspective it seems like the German brand is ascending from an annoying niggle in Nike’s side to an actual contender for the top spot on the dais as the US footwear market leader. But is that actually the case?
Yes and no. Yahoo! Finance has published a piece by Daniel Roberts about adi’s rise in the American market and the observations come as a bit of a revelation. The first thing to note is that Nike are still the market leader. By far. Their market share is over four times that of adidas – though things are starting to change. As the article explains; from January through to September of last year, adidas had an average monthly market share of 4.3 percent in US athletic footwear, according to NPD Group. Nike’s was 41 percent. For the same nine-month period this year, adidas’s average spiked to 7.1 percent, while Nike’s fell to 38 percent. Nike is still the behemoth we know but the Tre-Foil is building rapidly and chomping away at Nike’s slice. (Although it’s worth noting that Nike’s 38 percent doesn’t include subsidiaries Jordan Brand and Converse. Talk about beefy.)
So what’s happening? Is it a breakout model or tenacious leadership? Or a combination? Well adidas have just landed a new CEO, Kasper Rorsted, a leader with an apparently ‘cult like following’ with investors. Although only in the role for a month it’s unrealistic to attribute the brand’s growth to Rorsted, yet it’s worth noting that the stock jumped when he was announced as successor to Herbert Hainer. And the stock is up 78 percent already this year, compared to Nike, which is down 17 percent.
Where adidas have really made ground is in their spread of models. They’re covering all bases with their diversified offerings. There’s adidas Originals, the classic time-honoured models, and then contemporary ranges like NMD, the Boost family, Y3 and Yeezy (not to mention a myriad of dedicated sports models, a skate program and high-end fashion releases à la Rick Owens). As Roberts reports, adidas’s top five sellers for this year’s back-to-school season, reportedly a key indicator, were Superstars, Stan Smiths, NMD, ZX Flux and Boost. An even dispersion from old to fresh.
The brand has also made some key basketball and NFL signings as well extending a design contract to Kanye West that will include Yeezy stores. Robert’s spoke to sneaker analyst Matt Powell who played down the importance of the deal with Kanye saying ‘Collaborations with artists are by definition tiny. Think of it this way: adidas sold 300 million pairs of shoes last year, and I’d be surprised if they made even 50,000 pairs of Kanye West shoes.’(Adidas does not share how many pairs of the Yeezy Boost it has manufactured or sold.)