Adidas Gaining Ground in the Athleisure War

Adidas is going hard after Under Armour and Nike

Adidas has been working on a comeback after losing the second position as a sport brand in the US to Under Armour in 2014.

Mark King, CEO of Adidas USA, got in trouble in the fall with what some felt a direct attack at his competitor Under Armour calling its Athlete spokesmen “milquetoast” or in another words: unremarkable; but the real story is the orchestrated economic turnaround, where it is back as a major player after 5 years of less than stellar growth dating back from 2010.

President Mark King is enjoying the results, but attributes it to hard work and a continual effort. “I don’t think we think about it in those terms. We have to be better, and we have to compete more. We have five times the assets that Under Armour does to be able to compete. I think if we do the right things, we certainly will compete at a much higher level.” US sales for the Adidas brand were up 31%. focusing on stylish streetwear; experts indicate consumer tastes and preferences have shifted over the last year to a more retro and casual aesthetic style. But Adidas’s turnaround goes further as a part of a vision to win over consumers independent of the market conditions. In 2015 they announced a three-pillar turnaround strategy:

Speed – overhaul its production, sourcing, and supply chain, shorting the time between product creation and the store.
Key Cities – urban areas in general and specifically Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo, where the company said it would double its business in the next five years.
Open Source – includes collaborations with “athletes, creatives, consumers and other partners to help shape the future of sport and sports culture.”

Things are going well now, US sales for Adidas Group rose 22% in North America, erasing a drop of about the same size in 2014. It also outpaced first-quarter growth at Nike and Under Armour. Its collaboration with Kanye West was a success and the Yeezy Boost he developed along with other fashion sneakers will be expanded, as his input will be amplified into what the company calls “a Yeezy branded entity creating footwear, apparel and accessories for all genders across street and sport.” The German sportswear giant described the deal as “the most significant partnership ever created between a non-athlete and an athletic brand.”

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Sources: Retaildive [1] | Retaildive [2] | CNBC | Matt Powell’s Twitter Account