These Innovative Strategies Will Transform the Athletic Footwear Industry

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These Innovative Strategies Will Transform the Athletic Footwear Industry

By Deepak Bandal, Senior Digital Marketing Executive, Allied Market Research - 12/26/2016
Changing lifestyle preferences, growing obesity rates, and urbanization have given rise to consumers' focus on health and fitness. People are becoming fitness conscious and focusing on activities such as gym, yoga, and running to address increasing obesity rates and changing lifestyles. Athletic footwear plays a significant role in providing comfort during daily activities and reducing fatigue.

Eyeing opportunities in this market, a number of footwear retail outlets have increased over the past few years. E-commerce sector represents a big opportunity by presenting consumers with a variety of options to find the footwear that meets their requirements. R&D activities conducted by manufacturers take the wearer's comfort and efficiency into consideration. They are offering attractive new products for various sports and physical activities and widening their customer base. In its recent report on the athletic footwear market, Allied Market Research notes that the market is expected to garner revenue of $114.8 billion by 2022, registering a CAGR of 2.1 percent from 2016 to 2022. Following are trends that are poised to shape the industry in the coming years:

Nike's new collection for basketball players
Market players are adopting various strategies to increase their customer base and strengthen their position on the global competitive level. Many are looking to new product launches as one strategy to make a splash both within the industry and with consumers. Nike, Inc., the designer and distributor of athletic footwear based in Oregon, has launched 12 Soles Collection, which illustrates the impact of Nike and the Jordans brand on the basketball world.

The collection highlights the past, present, and future of basketball footwear, including the Nike Uptempo, Nike Air Force 1, Nike Air Max 2 Uptempo, Nike Uptempo 97, and Nike Air Foamposite Pro. This collection also represents recent innovations such as the Nike Kobe XI Elite Low, Nike Kyrie 2, Air Jordan XXXI along with the Air Jordan XI Retro, Air Jordan IX Retro, and Air Jordan XVI Retro.

"Since Nike's entry into basketball, with the Bruin and Blazer in 1972, we've been constantly innovating to meet the changing needs and style of the basketball athlete and consumer," said vice president, general manager of Nike Global Basketball Craig Zanon. "Basketball leaves an imprint on popular culture beyond the court and 12 Soles is a way to celebrate that." The collection is available on nike.com, on Nike+ SNKRS app, and at selected retailers worldwide.

Surprise release of new collection
Designer Ronnie Fieg had collaborated with Asics and launched "Militia" Asics Gel-Lyte 3 collaborations and "Salmon Toe 2.0" online without any warning or marketing. This collection was one of the most awaited collections and it sold rapidly as it launched. These shoes are handmade in Japan, which is rare, and packaged with accessories including pins and laces. The surprise launch of new and highly anticipated products offers a competitive edge to manufacturers as users actively purchase these products as soon as possible, limiting the prospect of excess inventory and significant markdowns.

Emergence of aesthetic athletic footwear
Consumer preferences are changing as lifestyles evolve and manufacturers need to keep close tabs on their customers' needs. Sneakers have gained a reputation as street-style shoes along with their conventional use as athletic footwear, a trend that has become prominent in mainstream society over the past few decades. Since 2000, sneakers have faced a revolution as consumers prefer comfort as well as style in sneakers. Manufacturers are focusing on designing attractive sneakers and using effective advertising and state-of-the-art marketing to reach customers. A subset of consumers known as sneakerheads are enthusiastic about collecting sneakers, which also fuels growth in the industry. Sneakers are no longer only workout attire or basketball shoes but are being paired with casual clothing for everyday wear.

Manufacturers are focusing on particular geographies
Determining opportunities in geographical regions is significant for manufacturers for business expansion. Adidas, Inc. is experiencing considerable growth in the United States. The company took several steps to increase sales and improve brand image, resulting in positive impact with its outcomes increasing four times. Adidas' sales have overtaken Under Armour in United States in the last quarter.

As per the statistics from NPD Group, the market share of Adidas in U.S. athletic footwear market is 7.1 percent through the end of the November 2016. Kasper Rorsted, the newly appointed CEO of Adidas who has a reputation among investors as a leader  who can reduce costs and improve margins, said, "We are very happy with the progress, not with the position. I don't think there will be any kind of complacency from us in U.S."

After his appointment, he told investors that his priority is the North American market. He added that there is a lot of work remaining to gain major share in the market. The focus on particular geographies would help manufacturers in determining strategies for business growth.


Deepak Bandal is a keynote senior executive on digital marketing at Allied Market Research.  He is a visiting faculty member at various educational institutions and has expertise in life sciences and medical devices.