Entertainment Style Adidas vs Nike: who wins the battle of the activewear brands?

Adidas vs Nike: who wins the battle of the activewear brands?

Adidas is having a surprising surge in North America and China.
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For the first time in years German-founded activewear brand Adidas is outperforming its main competitor, US rival Nike.

On Thursday, Adidas revealed its sales in North America – traditionally Nike’s biggest market – had increased by 31 per cent, with China following closely behind on a 30 per cent increase.

The company’s subsidiary, Reebok, has also had a successful quarter, growing its sales by 13 per cent thanks to a revitalised look, which involves hiring young influencers like Gigi Hadid, Zoe Kravitz and Ruby Rose as ambassadors.

The positive results saw Adidas shares surge to an all-time high.

Still, the company is remaining realistic in its battle against the giant Nike.

Despite Adidas renewing its focus on the North American market, Nike still retains the lion’s share of US footwear sales.

“We need to be humble about where we are in the US,” Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted said.

“Our target is to build sustainable brand loyalty. We are coming from a very different basis than our larger competitor.”

In recent years, Adidas has focused on fashionable partnerships with the likes of Rick Owens, Stella McCartney and Kanye West.

The latter was particularly lucrative for Adidas whilst simultaneously being a huge loss for Nike.

A disgruntled West left Nike and defected to Adidas in 2013 when they refused to pay him royalties.

There, the launch of his Yeezy line of shoes and apparel saw people queuing for kilometres to nab the coveted designs.

West was also vocal in his disapproval of Nike’s approach, citing the cost of raising a family as the reason for his exit.

“The old me, without a daughter, would have taken the Nike deal because I just love Nikes so much,” West said in a radio interview at the time.

“But the new me, with a daughter, takes the Adidas deal because I have royalties and I have to provide for my family.”

He also railed against Nike at a 2013 concert, calling CEO Mark Parker out by name.

“Do you know who the head of Nike is?” West asked the crowd.

“No, well let me tell you who he is: His name is Mark Parker, and he just lost culture. Everyone at Nike, everyone at Nike, Mark Parker just let go of culture.”

Nike, meanwhile, has preferred to maintain a focus on sportspeople rather than celebrities, with ongoing sponsorship deals with stars like Maria Sharapova, Eugenie Bouchard and Rafael Nadal.

NBA player LeBron James also has a lifetime deal with Nike to design shoes, estimated to be worth a whopping $US1 billion.

In February this year, Nike faced criticism for hiring model Bella Hadid for a campaign, with critics labelling her ‘abnormally thin’ and accusing the brand of promoting unrealistic body ideals for women.


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