Nike Is Still The King Of The Sneaker Industry, But Even Great Empires Can Fall

by MR Magazine Staff

Nike has dominated the sneaker world for so many years that it has come to seem invincible, particularly in the US, its home turf and the world’s biggest sneaker market. Lately, though, some holes have started to open up in Nike’s armor. In 2016, for the first time in more than a decade, Nike didn’t have the top-selling sneaker in the US. That distinction went to Adidas’s retro Superstar. Last week, Nike laid off hundreds of employees in a downsizing move that was first announced in June and will cut about 2% of its workforce, or roughly 1,400 people. Sports-industry analysts have also become increasingly concerned that the Nike brand, including its premium Jordan label, is losing its cachet. For the first time in ages, Nike’s iron grip on the sneaker world is visibly slipping. The question now is: How much will it slip? Nike owns enough of the sneaker market that it can afford some stumbles without falling from the top spot, and that’s especially true in the US. Data from the research firm NPD Group puts Nike’s US market share, including the Jordan brand, at about 44%. Adidas, its closest competitor, has roughly 11%. But that doesn’t mean Nike can relax. That 11% of the US market Adidas holds is nearly double what it had a year ago, putting it at number two in the country—and most of the share it’s stolen has been from Nike and Jordan. Adidas’s latest styles, such as the NMD, are winning over new fans, including even the hardcore sneaker collectors who have long worshipped at Jordan’s throne. Read more at Quartz.