Jordan Brand has a new president in former Coca-Cola Co. exec Craig Williams. And industry insiders believe he has his work cut out for him to right the ship.
While the label is still a power player in the sneaker space, it has lost some steam. Adidas has jumped over the Jumpman to the No. 2 spot in terms of market share, according to retail point-of-sale information reported by SSI Data. Jordan Brand’s market share last year was in the low teens, the firm said, but as of Nov. 3, it owned just around 9.5 percent.
To start to turn around the company, The NPD Group Inc.’s senior sports industry adviser, Matt Powell, said Jordan Brand needs to rebuild the scarcity model it once mastered.
“They’ve put far too much product in the marketplace, and liquidations have slowed, the resale market has collapsed, and they need to get back to having that scarcity cachet,” the expert explained. “Without the scarcity model, Jordan is just another shoe brand.”
For Ankur Amin, the CEO of TGS (the parent company to retailers including Extra Butter), Jordan’s turnaround hinges on attracting younger consumers.
“They’ve had an absolutely amazing run with retros and they’ll continue to have a loyal audience for them, but there is a whole generation of sneakerheads who never saw [Michael Jordan] play,” Amin said. “These kids are more rounded and informed than the ones a decade ago. They’re about all aspects of culture — fashion, music, art, food and sports. Jordan brand needs to take a page from Nike Sportswear and do a better job at engaging that kid.”
Also, Amin would like to see Jordan Brand better utilize Nike’s technology.
“There’s got to be a way to get React, VaporMax, Hyperadapt [and more] in [Nike’s] new products quicker and more meaningfully than they have been,” Amin said. “They can leverage technology and innovation that Nike produces in their footwear better and faster.”
Jordan Brand has used Nike’s technology in its footwear as of late. The Air Jordan 33 boasts its FastFit containment system, and the Jordan Proto-Max 720 uses the same tall, full-length Air unit featured on the upcoming Air Max 720 release. (The Jordan Proto-Max 720 is scheduled to hit stores in 2019.)
Williams will assume the role of Jordan Brand’s president effective Jan. 14. Larry Miller, the label’s current president, will become chairman for the newly created Jordan Brand Advisory Board.
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