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With reports suggesting Nike is set to release a range of sneakers priced at $100-and-under, the RetailX Global Sports Goods 2024 report looks at the brand behind the iconic swoosh.

An exclusive company profile, authored by Paul Skeldon, highlights how Nike has been a dominant part of retail for decades and 2023 saw a further surge in sales, with revenues hitting $51.3bn in 2023, up from an already impressive $37.4bn in 2020.

This has been driven by a range of factors. Firstly, the company has a legacy of innovation, both technical and in terms of partnerships with athletes, sports personalities and, more recently, luxury brands and popstars.

Nike’s foundation in 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight focused on providing high-quality footwear for athletes. Their commitment to innovation, evident in the waffle sole designed using Bowerman’s wife’s waffle iron, has been a constant. From introducing Air Jordans in collaboration with Michael Jordan to pioneering performance fabrics such as Dri-FIT, Nike has stayed at the forefront of athletic technology.

Few slogans hit as hard as “Just Do It” and that, alongside celebrity endorsements by iconic athletes, including Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Cristiano Ronaldo and Tiger Woods, has cemented Nike’s brand image as aspirational and motivational.

The brand has also used partnerships with luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Swarovski and Tiffany & Co, sprucing up its trainers with limited-edition luxury edits that push Nike firmly into the fashion and luxury apparel sectors.

This has opened up the brand to a whole new audience and shifted some of its reputation away from technical sports and high-street streetwear towards the high end of the market.

Nike’s growth in 2023 has been driven by external factors too. The athleisure trend, where athletic wear is worn for everyday activities, perfectly aligns with Nike’s core offerings in that it combines sports, technical materials and garments with fashion and streetwear.

As part of this, Nike has prioritised direct to consumer (D2C) selling, which drives growth while maintaining a tighter grip on brand image and distribution by tightening the link between its successful marketing strategy and direct sales.

This has seen the company invest heavily in its digital presence, creating a seamless online, cross-channel and mobile shopping experience. It has also made inroads into creating a more sustainable business and more sustainable products. This has seen the company reusing plastics, yarns and textiles, while creating new, more sustainable materials.

Its Nike Grind programme also sees surplus shoes broken down and reused to create rubber, foam, faux-leather, textiles and thermoplastics. These recycled materials can be used for playgrounds, store flooring, shop displays, playing field surfaces, courts, tracks and more, creating a sustainable sports future for the next generation.

This profile, authored by Paul Skeldon, is one of 16 company profiles in the recently published RetailX Global Sports Goods 2024 report.

The 44-page report gives a comprehensive overview of this dynamic sector through RetailX research, detailed graphics and exclusive case-studies. Inside the report we answer the most important questions about how shoppers are buying differently, as well as to reveal the main factors driving this change.

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