The financial year is over, Nike’s data dogs have finished sliding their abacus beads, and the results are in: they’re rich. These four quarters, they raked in a sizeable $39.1 billion – a ways off the ‘$50 billion by 2020’ they ventured a few years back, but still up 11 per cent on a currency neutral basis.
And while those numbers are turbocharged beyond blue-collar comprehension, as usual, Nike’s bottom line is the least interesting part of their earnings report. The address from Mark Parker contained nuggets on everything from old app performance to new sneaker tech, Olympic boasts to sustainable promises… and something about concept cars.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Running on Fumes
Before we settled on targeting Yeezy fans for our April Fool’s joke this year, our gag was going to be that Nike had run out of Air and couldn’t make anymore Air Max. After all, Air Max Day was a little deflated this year. And it turns out there’s some modicum of truth there. Citing the need for faster production, Mark Parker said ‘the consumer demand for Nike Air is currently outpacing supply’. If Nike are struggling to gas up their Maxes, we suggest they try hitting up their athletes again.
Nike have just released a trio of ‘Renew’ initiatives through Converse, and are taking the approach to Air. They are aiming for a target of ‘100 per cent renewable energy globally by 2025’, and are saving landfills from 50 million pounds of waste each year by recycling material in Air soles.
Investing in Women
One reason this earnings call is making headlines is for bringing the revelation that the USA Women’s Home Jersey from this World Cup is Nike’s best-selling soccer jersey ever. The numbers prove people are willing to show support with cash, which raises the question: why is the men’s team still paid more?
But where others aren’t willing to invest in women, Nike is. Mark Parker highlights commitments like contributing to the training of 100,000 coaches to mentor young girls, and providing more inclusive sizing collections for women’s sportswear. Again, people are supporting with cash: ‘It’s hard to overstate how important his year has been to the evolution of the Women’s Offense at Nike,’ Parker said. ‘The business grew double-digits in fiscal ’19.’
This is an odd one, and could come down to a transcription error, but it seems like Nike is looking to concept cars for inspiration. ‘One new model we’re testing,’ says Parker, ‘offers concept car footwear innovation from the Nike leading designers to our most valued members in North America’. As long as it’s nothing like the ‘Ferrari’ Air Jordan 14, we’re into it.
The digital side is thriving for Nike, with more than 170 million members on Nike+, and Nike SNKRS doubling in monthly active users. As for the regular Nike app, Parker reports ‘triple-digit revenue growth in Q4’. This quarter, the Nike app will hit China, and 13 markets across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Hybrids, Hybrids Everywhere
If Nike’s chimeric models have had you in hybrid heaven, get comfy. As Parker says, ‘we launched a new shoe that merges the two of our most celebrated platforms the Air Max-React 270 and we have more hybrids in footwear on the way for the next several seasons’.
Enjoy the Ride
Nike have a new tech they’ll be pushing soon: Joyride. Much like PUMA’s Jamming, Joyride looks like Visible Air filled with a bunch of cushioning capsules. So far we don’t know much, but we do have imagery. Leakers on NikeTalk have shared what they’re calling the Joyride Run Flyknit, Joyride Optik, and Joyride CC, though Nike is yet to confirm that the leaked designs represent the final product.
However, Parker did say he’s ‘incredibly excited’ about the tech release in the coming months. He said, ‘This new approach to cushioning will deliver a more personalised feeling for runners at every level. I’ve been wearing different versions over the last year and it’s extremely comfortable. We think the design has great potential to stand-out with the consumer in both performance and lifestyle.’
‘X’ Per Cent
Can a shoe really make you run four per cent faster? In terms of the Vaporfly 4%, apparently so. Nike’s boasts that the shoe markedly improves running economy were backed up by Eliud Kipchoge’s Breaking2 efforts, a spree of other marathon runners, and even a New York Times study. But if four per cent is achievable, what about five? What about 10? While we don’t know whether Nike can make running’s version of the LZR Racer swimsuit, we do know their Vaporfly tech is improving.
The ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% is already topping podiums, but Mark Parker hints more is to come. After mentioning the model, he says we can expect to ‘see sustainability that plays an even more elevated role in our design. And we’ll deliver collections with more commercial potential than any other Olympics in our history.’