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The Battle for Athletic Apparel: Nike and Its Competitors Unleashed

The Battle of Athletic Apparel: Nike and Its Competitors

When it comes to athletic apparel, Nike is the titan of the industry. However, its position has not deterred other brands from trying to claim a share of the market.

Among its competitors are Adidas,

New Balance,


Reebok, and

Converse. Here, we will delve deeper into each brand and see how they stack up against Nike.

Nike vs. Adidas Rivalry

Nike and Adidas are arch-rivals in the sports and leisure industry.

If you look at the two competitors’ financials, it is apparent that Nike is ahead by a wide margin. In 2020, Nike’s revenue was $37.4 billion, whereas Adidas’ revenue was $23.6 billion.

The two have different approaches to the market, with Nike focusing on innovation and athlete endorsements, and Adidas on community engagement and diversity. However, Adidas shows some significant gains in the Chinese market, where they have increased their market share.

Nike lost some market share in China following a boycott after accusations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Nevertheless, Nike’s brand recognition and innovation remain unbeatable.

The two brands will continue to clash, shaping the market’s future.

New Balance

New Balance is known for its comfort and quality, especially for running shoes. The Boston-based company holds a smaller market share than Nike or Adidas with a 4.2% share of the market, as of 2020.

The company’s strengths lie in its diversity and commitment to domestic employment. Unlike Nike and Adidas, they have American factories that keep workers employed.

According to experts,

New Balance’s success stems from meeting consumers’ demand for functional, not fashionable, shoes. One example is the

New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro, a trail-running version with a generous frame that provides maximum support.

For some users,

New Balance is a lover’s game; once you find a pair that works for you, you stick with it.


Founded in Germany in 1948,

Puma is a sports lifestyle brand that makes footwear, apparel, and accessories. Currently,

Puma holds approximately 8% of the global market.

Puma is known for its collaborations with celebrities. Among them is Rihanna, who serves as the creative director for

Puma’s women’s line.

She helped increase

Puma’s popularity among millennials and women. Additionally,

Puma dedicates itself to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of its business, even introducing a new rainbow-inspired logo to show its support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Puma aims to appeal to diverse audiences that not only show off their athletic abilities but also their fashion sense.


Reebok has a long-standing history of making functional and fashionable sneakers and apparel. However, the company has struggled financially compared to other brands, especially amid the pandemic.

Recently, rumors circulated about

Reebok’s sale, signaling a decrease in Adidas’ confidence in the brand. For

Reebok to reclaim its position as a leading athletic apparel company, it needs to make positive changes.

Among the areas that need addressing are improving product development and expanding its reach. Nevertheless,

Reebok’s past successes show that it is possible to gain market share with the right strategies.


Converse is a classic American brand known for its Chuck Taylor sneakers. Currently, Nike owns

Converse, and it has started manufacturing new products like the Chuck Taylor Renew Canvas.

The new product is made of recycled materials, which reflects Nike’s commitment to sustainability.

Converses’ designs continue to appeal to customers worldwide. However, the company has been experiencing a decrease in revenue, mainly because of its limited product portfolio.

To remain competitive,

Converse must expand and innovate its product line to cater to changing customer needs.

Under Armour and



Under Armour and

Lululemon are not direct competitors to Nike, as their focus lies on athletic leisure and sportswear, they should not be overlooked.

Under Armour

Under Armour used to be a leading company in the sports and leisure industry. However, recent financials show signs of struggle.

In 2020, the company reported a net loss of $590 million. To regain traction,

Under Armour is currently undergoing a significant restructuring, cutting over $300 million in operational costs to improve its bottom line.


On the other hand,

Lululemon is a relatively new company that has made its mark in the industry. The company gained popularity due to its stylish designs combined with high-quality performance fabric.


Lululemon was an early adopter of the e-commerce market. During the pandemic, their e-commerce growth skyrocketed by 94%, demonstrating their agility and ability to adapt to market changes.

Final thoughts

The athletic apparel industry is far from stagnant, with competitors constantly trying to take a share of the market. Nike remains the industry leader, but Adidas,

New Balance,


Reebok, and

Converse’s marketing strategies continue to challenge Nike’s position.

Additionally, for

Under Armour and

Lululemon, reinvention and innovation are necessary to remain profitable. It’s important to keep an eye on these key players and their developments as they pave the way in the athletic apparel industry.

The Ever-Evolving Athletic Apparel Industry: Asics, Anta Sports, and Other Competitors

The global athletic apparel market continues to grow, experiencing an annual compound growth rate of 5.7% from 2021 to 2028. While Nike still dominates the industry, other brands such as Asics, Anta Sports, Vans, Gymshark, Brooks, Champion, Columbia Sportswear Co., Skechers, Alo Yoga, Li Ning, and K-Swiss are impacting the market in unique ways.

Asics: Struggling to Maintain Market Share

Asics is a Japanese athletic apparel company that specializes in running shoes. Unfortunately, the company has been struggling to maintain its market share in recent years, mainly because of increased competition from other brands.

In 2020, Asics reported a decline in revenue due to the pandemic’s impact. Additionally, they have lost customers who are turning to alternatives, such as Nike and Adidas.

To turn this around, Asics has been innovating with new product lines, such as the AdaptTruss, which is a flexible sole running shoe designed to prevent injury. They have also been revamping their marketing strategies by collaborating with new designers to make their products stand out in the crowded market space.

Anta Sports: Revenue and Market Share Growth

Anta Sports is a Chinese-based athletic apparel company that provides shoes, apparel, and accessories. The company has seen a steady increase in revenue, with 2020 sales up 2.8% from the previous year, despite the impact of the pandemic.

Furthermore, Anta Sports’ market share increased to 6.9% in 2020, up from 6.3% in the previous year. Anta Sports attributes its growth to its diverse market strategy, which includes building up its brand, creating new products, and expanding into international markets.

Another aspect contributing to their success is their acquisition of other brands, such as Fila’s China operations. Vans: Making a Difference Through Community Involvement

Vans, most commonly known for its skateboard shoes, has a unique approach to athletic apparel.

Vans takes pride in its community involvement, using its corporate social responsibility initiatives to give back to the community. The brand focuses on promoting youth culture and creativity through events and charities such as the Vans Custom Culture Art Competition.

Vans’ commitment to philanthropy gives their customers a sense of worth, which translates into brand loyalty. There is also a financial benefit to their community involvement – customers appreciate their impact and are more likely to invest in a brand that cares about the community.

Gymshark: The Power of Influencers

Gymshark is a fitness apparel company founded in 2012 by a teenager in his bedroom. Although it started small, the company has grown into a global brand, and Millennials and Gen Zers can’t get enough of it.

One of the reasons behind Gymshark’s success is its influencer marketing strategy. Gymshark collaborates with social media influencers who have significant followings.

Influencers promote Gymshark products on their social media, and as a result, the company’s brand recognition increases. By tapping into these markets, Gymshark has rapidly grown its customer base and has become a powerhouse in the athletic apparel industry.

Brooks: Boosting Sales with Innovative Products

Brooks is an athletic apparel company that focuses on running shoes. In recent years, the company has expanded its product line to include clothing and accessories.

Brooks works to create products designed to meet customers’ needs while keeping up with the latest trends. Brooks has seen significant sales growth in recent years due to their innovative approach.

For example, their Transcend, Neuro, and Levitate shoe designs were successful, as they provided the support and comfort needed to keep runners coming back. Champion: Making a Comeback

Champion is a sports and athletic apparel company that was popular in the 1990s.

However, the brand was overshadowed by larger companies such as Nike and Adidas and was no longer the go-to brand for athletic apparel. In recent years, Champion has made a comeback, thanks to its ability to adapt its styles to the current market.

Champion has been working to create updated, stylish designs while maintaining durability and quality. In addition, they have captured the attention of younger consumers through the brand’s collaborations with influencers.

Champion’s renewed focus on their original style has helped the company reignite customer loyalty. Columbia Sportswear Co.: Slump in Sales

Columbia Sportswear Co. is a company that specializes in outdoor wear that is functional and fashionable.

Unfortunately, the brand has seen a decline in sales in recent years. In 2021, the company reported a net sales decrease of 6% compared to the previous year.

The drop in sales could be attributed to the pandemic’s impact, including store closures and a decrease in customer demand. Recognizing this, Columbia Sportswear Co. is working on developing a sustainable and responsible supply chain to recapture customer trust, along with launching a digital platform to make shopping more convenient for their customers.

Skechers: Affordable and Comfortable

Skechers is a company that designs and sells footwear, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and children. Unlike other athletic apparel brands, Skechers is affordable, which has contributed to its success.

Additionally, Skechers’ products are designed to be comfortable, which is appealing to customers who prioritize comfort. Skechers has continued to expand its reach by broadening their product lines, including collaborations with influencers and sponsoring sports teams.

Their efforts have been successful, as Skechers reported a net sales increase of 31.8% in the first quarter of 2021. Alo Yoga: E-commerce Growth

Alo Yoga is a company that specializes in high-end yoga wear that is comfortable and stylish.

Like many companies, they have focused on expanding their e-commerce presence. During the pandemic, demand for apparel that could be worn both indoors and outdoors increased, leading to Alo Yoga’s e-commerce growth.

Alo Yoga has leveraged its social media presence to increase brand recognition, teaming up with influencers to promote their products and sharing user-generated content. The brand’s focus on e-commerce, coupled with its commitment to the environment and diversity, is a winning combination for their target audience.

Li Ning and Xtep International Holdings: Making Waves in Asia

Li Ning, a Chinese sportswear company, has seen immense growth in recent years, thanks to its domestic focus. The company is the top-selling sportswear brand in China, with a market share of 11.8%.

It has been successful in appealing to domestic consumers through sports sponsorships. Similarly, Xtep International Holdings, another up-and-coming Chinese athletic apparel company, has seen impressive revenue growth and expansion into international markets.

Recently, Xtep announced a collaboration with internationally renowned designer K-Swiss to create fresh, new designs. K-Swiss: Partnership for Fresh Designs

K-Swiss is a company that designs and sells tennis shoes.

The brand has been partnering with designers to create new collections, including Looney Tunes and the late Gary Vaynerchuk’s line. Their partnerships have been embraced by their audience, who appreciate fresh designs and aesthetics.

K-Swiss’ partnership with Xtep International Holdings is the most recent collaboration, combining the best of both brands to create new products. The collaboration is a unique approach that aims to create consumer excitement while bridging the gap between Eastern and Western markets.

The Bottom Line

The athletic apparel industry continues to evolve, with companies struggling to maintain and increase market share. Asics and Columbia Sportswear Co. have seen recent declines, while Anta Sports, Skechers, and Xtep International Holdings have boosted revenue growth.

Vans’ community involvement and Gymshark’s influencer marketing are some of the strategic ways companies are attracting their target markets. Finally, Champion has made a comeback, and K-Swiss has taken a unique approach by collaborating with designers.

These brands’ innovative methods may shape the future of the industry, as they continue to adapt to the ever-changing market trends and consumer preferences. In conclusion, the athletic apparel industry is a highly competitive and ever-evolving market with brands constantly vying for market share.

Nike remains the industry leader, but competitors such as Asics, Anta Sports, Vans, Gymshark, Brooks, Champion, Columbia Sportswear Co., Skechers, Alo Yoga, Li Ning, and K-Swiss are making their mark through various strategies. The key takeaways from these brands include the importance of innovation, diversification, community involvement, influencer marketing, and adapting to consumer demands.

As the industry continues to grow, it is critical for companies to stay ahead of the curve and connect with their target audience to remain competitive. The power lies in understanding consumer preferences, leveraging strategic partnerships, and creating products that resonate with customers.

By doing so, these brands can shape the future of the athletic apparel industry and leave a lasting impact on consumers.

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