Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Nike and Adidas – competition gets stickier: TrendFreaks analysis

February 4th, 2008 by

We started game # 2 – “Adidas to overcome Nike”, once we spotted that the discussion over the two leading brands in the blogsphere is becoming very similar in its volume.



We have turned this observation to you, trying to understand your insights. We posted the observed trend in relevant sports forums, Q&A sites, marketers and advertisers social networks, and of course our TrendFreaks group running in Facebook.

While for some it was hard to admit that Nike is losing its dominancy, most of the comments we received were in fact supporting our initial assumption that Nike is facing hard competition coming from Adidas.

We profiled your evidence and personal preferences in favor of Nike, in favor of Adidas, and those who found it hard to take one side only.

  1. Nike:

    “Adidas are spending more time blogging that being athletes…” (a comment provided by Nike employee)

    “When I look into new basketball shoes, I’ve always liked the Nike Brands, because they seem to have more heel and ankle support, but when I try to order online (which is how I purchase my Bball shoes), I can never find my size 11 1/2 in stock.”
    “between the two (nike & adidas).. Nike”.

  2. Adidas:

    “Adidas all the way…there is no shoe in the market, which is more comfortable, and pocket friendly than adidas. The shoe is reliable, trendy and sporty all the same.”

    “I grew up a fan of Nike ……I am becoming more of an Adidas fan by the minute.”

    “Mark Zuckerberg! His name is usually followed by the word “adidas”

    “I’m a tennis sneaker kind of girl, but for my golf shoes, I bought the Adidas. It has a built in arch support which is great when you are walking 18-holes, carrying a full set of clubs on your back….I needed the extra support!”

  3. Hard to compare:
    1. different styles:

      “Nike is hard core technology for sports: it’s Nike Plus, it’s Dri Fit, it’s Air. It’s innovation. Adidas is different. Their products are more focused in style: Adidas Originals, Adidas Stella McCartney, Adidas Y-3. What’s also very significant about the two brands is their communication: Adidas is “impossible is nothing”, is about empowering people (which by the way is not very far from Nike positioning in the eighties). Nike is all about winning. About being the best.”

      “In my honest opinion, that’s where the difference lies in my eyes. Nike appeals to the hardcore sport goers who thrive on competition and want the ‘best’ when competing, which Nike has well promoted themselves as; as being the ‘best’ and that you’ll win with them”.

      “Adidas has long appealed to a large demographic of consumers, from athletic people to hip-hop dancers. They’ve created a more ‘chill’ feeling around their products that personally makes me feel and look relaxed but trendy at the same time. ‘Impossible is Nothing’ has been a great campaign that appeals to the Average Joe who always wanted to make it big and sees that it is possible for anyone.”

    2. different sports / functionality

      “Nike, I have great products from them for basketball and other competitive sports. Adidas, I have for working out, running and notably casual wear”.

    3. Many of the responses were in favor of other brands we haven’t discussed, mainly New Balance.

      “New Balance for the win. NB finally figured out that sneakers are a fashion market and have been making some very cool looking NBs–but on top of that, New Balance are comfortable and don’t fall apart like a lot of hipper brands”.

      As you can learn from the above reactions (we presented only few sample examples), opinions about the leading sporting shoe are indecisive. I’m sure ten years ago – we would have heard Nike’s fans shouting much louder.

So what has changed? 
Adidas is in fact bringing new challenges:

And yet, Adidas has a long way to go to overcome Nike.  

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6 Responses

  1. Carsten Says:

    to a agree with the views that Nike is more focused on athletes and adidas more on style/fashion. adidas certainly has a strong fashion/style line with huge margins since there is little research and development. but they also have a very strong athletes business (track and field and soccer).
    nike on the other hand has a future problem by focusing on athletes since they can easily be outinnovated by some korean company. also in the style/fashion area they focus too much on the hip hop culture while adidas is expanding into high margin semi-luxury spaces with stella and y3

  2. Lou Martins Says:

    In depends on the market you’re talking about… Nike and Adidas have different focus and different ways to get the costumers attention.
    Here in Brazil, for example, Nike is a strnog brand when it comes to soccer. Having Ronaldinho, Ronaldinho Gaucho, Roberto Carlos and others famous brazilians soccer players rwally helped nike to former a leal legion of fans.
    Adidas is more “urban” shoes… it’s stylish, cheaper (at least here), it’s not about being the best in what you do, but have a good looking way to do whatever you wanna do. Adidas can get more attention now because of it: they not only make shows for sports, but nike will always have a legion of fans, maybe more loyal to the brand than adidas fans.

  3. omer rosen Says:

    Amazing, I just blogged about it a few hours ago…
    Sorry non-Hebrew readers, I posted it in Hebrew.

  4. Guilherme Land Says:

    Like Lou Im from Brazil and here Nike is really strong when it comes to soccer. I think this happens all around the world since I heard about a research in the last World Cup where Nike was the brand everyone was talking about even with Adidas sponsoring the whole tournment.

  5. Soccer Girl Says:

    adidas is the best BY FAR…when it comes to making top quality soccer shoes which are easy to break in and do the job, definitely adidas rules over nike’s narrow shoes.

  6. Manoj Says:

    Adidas rules!!!
    what else matters?

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