SBD/Issue 185/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Nike Losing Market Share In Women As Skechers, Reebok See Gains

Reebok's EasyTone Shoes Helping Company
Gain Women's Market Share At Nike's Expense

Nike's sales of women's footwear last month "declined by mid-single digits even as the category grew in the teens," and it is "no mystery where they went: Skechers and Reebok," according to Jeremy Mullman of AD AGE. SportsOneSource indicated that Nike's share of the U.S. women's footwear market "slipped to 29% last month, down from 36.5% in the year-earlier period." Skechers meanwhile "tripled its share during the same period, climbing to 16.5% from 5.5%, and Reebok nearly did the same, jumping to 8% from 3.3%." Both Skechers and Reebok "have invested heavily in the hugely popular segment of toning shoes," and a running version of Reebok's toning shoes and a "related apparel line are hitting the market soon." The shoes will not have "toning-category competition from Nike, which continues to sneer at the space." Mullman notes Nike "refuses to sell toning shoes, which it says don't fit with its performance-obsessed brand." A Nike spokesperson in a statement said that the company "has a range of new women's products set for fall and winter release," and Nike President & CEO Mark Parker last month "promised 'more compelling presentations at retail' aimed at women, calling the category 'a massive opportunity' for the company." But SportsOneSource analyst Matt Powell said that part of Nike's "problem" is a "surge among competitors who talk to women in a very different manner than Nike does." Nike's "testosterone-soaked 'Just Do It' tone has always been an uneasy fit with women." Mullman notes Reebok "in recent years refocused on its core women consumers, and those efforts are clearly paying off -- at Nike's expense." Reebok VP/Brand Strategy & Women's Business Katrin Ley: "There is a huge market opportunity out there that is not attracted by win-at-all-costs communication" (AD AGE, 6/7 issue).

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