Some Surprises in the Sportswear Market Online

In January of this year it was announced that Under Armour overtook Adidas as the #2 Sportswear company in the United States.  Since then, Adidas has focused on how they will become "cool" again in the US, recently announcing a 13 year, $200 million dollar contract with NBA star James Harden. (And his beard.)

Though Under Armour and Adidas battle for second place, we all know who the category king is.

In the past 12 months, Nike has owned 60% of sportswear dollars being spent online across the top brands.  No surprise there.


But here IS a surprise—contrary to the total market numbers, Adidas is firmly entrenched as the #2 brand online.  Even more surprising—Adidas is gaining share online.  Below is an online market share chart that compares shifts in share for January through July 2015 to the same period in 2014.  For the first 7 months of this year, the biggest drop in share belongs to Nike.  The biggest gainers? Adidas and Under Armour.


Perhaps not so coincidentally, May was the best month thus far this year for Nike online and also the worst month thus far this year for both Adidas and Under Armour.

So where are these brands competing online?  Since January of this year, we estimate that 26.5 million units have been purchased online. Where these purchases are happening will begin to show us exactly why Nike is so dominant: sells more sportswear than any other web site in the US, and 350% more than!  Notice is not even one of the 10 largest sites for sportswear. This begs the question – is Nike just better at converting shoppers in to buyers?  And is online Adidas’ silver bullet to take back the #2 position from Under Armour? 

This game is far from over, and I for one am very curious to see how things play out.  Can Adidas continue their surge? Can continue to grow with the category? 

Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a GAME!  Let’s sit back and enjoy it….