Stifel’s BTS Survey Reveals Nike’s Dominance Continues

Stifel’s 15th Annual Back-to-School 2022 Athletic Footwear Survey found that Nike’s popularity continues to be “enduring”, led by retro styles. Vans, Puma, Converse and Hey Dude also scored high in the survey.

To assess trends in the United States, Stifel’s footwear analyst team, led by Jim Duffy, visited and called 110 stores, including Dick’s, Academy, Foot Locker, Finish Line, Champs and Hibbett Sports, to gather data on the popularity of sports shoes. styles in boys and girls.

A Nike style was referenced as the most popular in 92% of in-store calls, improving from 87% in February 2022 and in line with prior year levels. Nike styles occupied all of the Top 5 and seven of the 10 most popular styles.

“Retro trends continue to dominate, led by gender-neutral Air Force 1, Jordan Retro 1 and Nike Blazer silhouettes, although contemporary styles such as Nike Air Max and VaporMax have gained traction,” Stifel’s report reads.

The report found that Nike’s broad appeal is supported by diverse offerings, including Air Max, VaporMa and Blazer styles, and has gained “significant traction” from the back-to-school period a year ago.

The growing popularity of Nike Court styles, however, has signaled some price reduction for Nike for price-conscious consumers in the current inflationary climate. Stifel said in the review, “We consider Nike Court Vision and Nike Court Borough to be similar styles to the more expensive Air Force 1 and Jordan 1 platforms.”

Nike Court styles were referenced in 10% of checks (compared to 8% in February 2022 and 5% in fall 2021), mainly at Academy, Dick’s and Finish Line.

Stifel said conversations with in-store staff also included a heightened focus on “your budget” and price sensitivity compared to earlier discussions focusing more on sizes and availability. Stifel added: “Notably, however, consumers remain loyal to the brand and the budget conscious seem willing to substitute within the brand.

Stifel also found that Nike continues to dominate at Foot Locker despite ongoing moves to limit on-chain allocations. Nike was listed as the most popular brand in 98% of Foot Locker stores, rising from 84% on February 22 and in line with previous year levels.

Foot Locker said earlier this year that Nike’s allocation would decrease to 55% to 60% of supplier purchases by the fourth quarter of 2022, from 70% in 2021.

Among other brands, Adidas’ brand relevance continued to decline, primarily online. Stifel wrote: “Our online checks show that Adidas-branded styles accounted for a historic low of 6% of Top 20 styles (compared to 13% in February 2022 and 15% for Back to School 2021) on Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy , Foot Locker, Finish Line, Champs and Hibbett Sports.

The popularity of Adidas’ top platforms has yet to recover in stores. The Ultraboost platform was mentioned in 15% of stores, unchanged from February 2022 and down from 21% for back-to-school 2021. NMDs were noted in 11% of stores, compared to 6% in February 2022 but less 12% back-to-school 2021.

New Balance styles were discussed in 7% of calls, down from the brand’s peak of 11% the previous year and in February 2022. New Balance brand popularity was concentrated in Foot Locker stores.

Mentions of the Vans brand as a popular brand improved to 13% of all stores surveyed, over 10% in February 2022 and 6% in fall 2021.

Puma, boosted by the popularity of the LaMelo Ball collection, was mentioned in 5% of in-store checks, with all mentions at Foot Locker and Champs stores. Foot Locker has an exclusive on Puma’s LaMelo Ball style.

Converse held steady at an all-time high in brand mentions, cited as popular at 6% of stores, unchanged from February and well above 2% mentions a year earlier. Again, Converse mentions were concentrated in Foot Locker.

Hey Dude, owned by Crocs, Inc., received its first brand mention in 4% of its monitored stores and was concentrated in Academy Sports and Hibbett stores in North Carolina, Texas and Florida. Stifel wrote, “At a starting price of $59.95, Hey Dude may be an attractive option for the price-conscious consumer.”

Other findings from Stifel’s back-to-school study include:

  • Audits indicate better in-store stock availability and high traffic, but anecdotal feedback suggests that store staff are thin and, in many cases, inexperienced.
  • Starting August 18, Stifel saw the promotions go mainstream. “Best deals remained focused on seasonal apparel and footwear styles, but promotion expanded more broadly, including select colorways of in-demand styles from major brands. The shift toward a promotional environment departs from full-price retail environment that back-to-school has enjoyed in recent years,” Stifel said.
  • Stifel’s mix and ASP analysis suggests net high single-digit/double-digit year-over-year increase in ASP for brands, although promotion may weigh on ASP for retailers. Stifel wrote: “For brands, the trade in lower price offers is more than offset by price increases of up to 22% year over year on the most popular styles.

Photo courtesy of Nike

Comments are closed.