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Why is Nike winning the Shoe War?
Let’s recap 2008.
Over $18 Billion dollars in sales in the fiscal 2008. Just as a perspective, Apple topped $10 billion in quarterly sales this year. And according to reports, Nike accounted for almost 50% of ALL running shoe sales in the USA.
That’s a lot of shoes, and a lot of sales!
It’s all about Branding. From your choice of coffee, to cold cereal, to the car you drive. Or even the shoes you wear.
Same rule applies to the spikes you buy, unless you have a sponsorship deal. What comes to mind when choosing a pair of shoes or spikes? Are you swayed by a certain brand? Is loyalty involved? Perhaps you look up to Usain Bolt (Puma), LaShawn Merritt (Nike), or Jeremy Wariner (Adidas)?
Let’s face it, the next wave in Computing is in social networks and mobile technology.
Not a day goes by without seeing someone on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, or even LinkedIn. And on the technology front, you see iPods, iPhones, Blackberries, gadgets.. you name it!
But what happens when you combine Mobile Technology Gadgets + Social Network?
An example is Nikeplus or simply known as NIKE+
What the heck is Nike+?
The Apple Nike + iPod Sport Kit for iPod nano 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G is only $29 and comes with a sensor for your shoe and a wireless adapter for the iPod. It tracks the runner’s 3 main data points most people want to see: speed, mileage, and calories burned.
For those who do not have or want the iPod, there is the Nike+ SportBands, a wristwatch-like devices for anti-music hard core runners like me. (I don’t need music to motivate me). You can view your data on the wrist Sportband and upload it to your computer via a USB connection.
Prior to Black Friday, the day after US Thanksgiving, Nike has sold over 1.3 million Nike+ iPod Sport Kits, and 500,000 Nike+ SportBands.
On August 31, 2008, they had the largest Human Race with a 10k distance and almost 800,000 participants Worldwide. Even Carl Lewis got involved by being the unofficial starter in Rome, Italy. I don’t know why he wasn’t in Los Angeles. My guess is the Jerry Lewis theory… they are worshiped as massive icons outside their home country.
Any you thought San Francisco’s Bay to Breakers was the largest running event!
In case you are wondering, I didn’t run… anything over 400 meters, I take a taxi. Heck, I don’t even participate in the Vancouver Sun Run in April, and that event attracts 50,000 people. (Note how I don’t say runners)
The Competition and the Future
You don’t think the competition is just sitting there waving goodbye to the NIKE bus?
Adidas’ similar product using a sensor is called miCoach. It takes the came concept of the Nike+ but allows runners to upload heart rate and running data to a Web site via mobile phone.
From their web site, “micoach is a total coaching system that creates personalized training plans, keeps tabs on your stats, and coaches you along the way”.
The above products are geared mainly towards distance runners. It’s too bad these devices don’t work for sprinters which can help us determine our ground contact time or stride frequency.
But Nike isn’t sitting on their laurels either.
Basketball has surpassed Baseball as America’s Favorite sport. Nike introduced Ballers Network, a Facebook application that lets players organize real-world games and manage their teams online.
Seems like everyone is getting into Facebook these days. If you want world dominance, you’d better find the largest audience.