Why Adidas Is Succeeding and Jordan Brand Isn’t

Move over Jordan Brand. Adidas is the new No. 2 sport footwear brand in the U.S.

As of August, according to The NPD Group, Adidas — aided by the brand’s sales growing by more than half for the month — has overtaken Jordan Brand, which experienced a sales decline.

This shift in the market is shocking to Matt Powell, VP and sports industry analyst with The NPD Group.

“This is a big seat change. Nike and Jordan have dominated the U.S. market for decades,” Powell told Footwear News. “For Adidas to rise up this quickly and to take No. 2 share is really a remarkable feat. If you would have asked me two years ago if this would have happened, I would have said no way.”

And Powell doesn’t see Adidas slipping any time soon.

“I think they’re really reaping the benefits of finally paying attention to the U.S. market. The future remains very bright for them,” Powell said. “They’re not going to grow at the same rate that they’ve been growing, that’s not easy to do, but I expect the brand to still be on a strong growth trajectory well into next year.”

In order to keep winning in retail, Adidas simply has to continue to deliver must-have models that domestic consumers are attracted to, which it has done consistently with performance product across multiple categories and its Originals line.

Adidas Ultra Boost ATR Mid LTD
Adidas Ultra Boost All Terrain Mid LTD
CREDIT: Adidas

With Jordan Brand, an athletic label looking for a crucial rebound, Powell believes it needs to retool its retro business, which could hurt sales initially.

“Jordan has got to get back to unrequited demand as one of their primary methods of business, they’ve got to get products selling out on release day. My Twitter followers are quite adamant that they don’t think Jordan is cool anymore because it doesn’t sell out,” Powell explained. “I would put the emphasis back on retro in a major way, but it means they’re going to do less business. If they’re putting less product in the marketplace, sales will go down. They’ve got to take a step back before they take a step forward.”

Air Jordan 13 Retro Altitude
Air Jordan 13 Retro “Altitude”

Backing away from performance styles is also an option the industry insider believes Jordan Brand should explore.

“Jordan performance has sold as a surrogate for not getting Jordan retro. The kid who couldn’t get in by Saturday morning at noon and get a pair of retros bought performance Jordan because he really wanted the Jordan shoe,” he said. “Now that retro Jordans don’t sell out, there’s no reason to buy a performance Jordan.”

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