Survey: Nike Losing Teens to Streetwear Brands Supreme & Vans

A survey released by Piper Jaffray Companies today is adding new evidence to the notion that longtime athletic footwear leader Nike is losing its cool.

The investment firm’s 34rd semiannual Taking Stock With Teens research survey, which highlighted spending trends and brand preferences among 6,100 young people across 44 U.S. states, found that 46 percent chose Nike as their top footwear brand.

While that number seems impressive, it represents a deceleration from last year’s survey, in which 51 percent of teens said Nike was their top shoe brand. (In 2016, Piper Jaffray surveyed 10,000 teens.)

Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Erinn Murphy said it’s the first time in years that the researchers saw Nike share moderate as a preferred brand. Meanwhile, that weakness was offset by an “unexpected rise” in trends among streetwear brands Vans and Supreme, which gained momentum.

“In addition, other brands such as Adidas, Puma and New Balance have been capturing more mindshare as teens gravitate toward that 1990s retro look,” Murphy added.

Still, for now, Nike claimed first place as the preferred footwear brand among teens. Vans landed at No.2, selected by 12 percent of teens surveyed; 11 percent of teens named Adidas their main choice; 7 percent chose Converse; and 2 percent selected Birkenstock.

Athletic apparel also appears to be slowing down — led by Nike — as preference in the category also is shifting toward streetwear niche brands such as Supreme, the researchers said. (New reports suggest Supreme — which recently landed a major investment — could start to trade in some of its exclusivity and esoteric appeal for larger distribution and growth.)

Nevertheless, for now, Nike also remains the top apparel brand for teens, selected as the favorite by 23 percent of those surveyed. Adidas also landed in the top five, grabbing 4 percent of teens’ votes.

Overall, Piper Jaffray found that teen spending moved down 4.4 percent year-over-year, while parent contribution to teen spend is 67 percent — just below the long-term average of 68 percent.

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