The Swoosh vs. The Three Stripes

New York (and specifically SoHo) have become battleground for Nike and Adidas with both brands opening new flagship stores within weeks of one another this past month. In recent years it has been noticeable that the two brands along with the lurking Under Armour have been in arms races with each other. It is rather incredible to see the jump in the Adidas stock price this year alone with it starting at around $90 in January to about $145 today (the same cannot be said for Under Armour, and Nike in the past year has been hovering constantly between $50-$65). In terms of revenue numbers, Nike is still a big fish ($30 billion) with Adidas revenue just half of that. However in the coming years Adidas will be ones to watch in as they seem to be thinking ahead and outside the box when it comes to bringing different worlds together.

The purpose of these stores as you will read on is to bring a whole new experience to the consumer when shopping for their products. For the customer to see what the brand physically manifests and represents. Gone are the days that brands make you only ‘think’ of something, brands now make you ‘experience and feel’. They no longer want the brand just to be apart of you but to live the brand culture also.



  • 5 stories, 55 000 square feet.
  • Almost half court Basketball zone with Kinect, a system that measures what you may be doing wrong/right in your movements. Letting you test your shoes before buying.
  • Area for Apple watch Nike+…similar to a Apple Store set-up.
  • Exclusively selling the HyperAdapt 1.0, adaptive lacing (Back to the Future influencing this innovation).
  • Personal trainers with the addition of iPads will help when trailing for new equipment on one of the three treadmill set-ups within the store.
  • Personalisation workshop Nike by NYC, in addition to collaborations with designers and having special additions exclusively available in the store.


  • 4 stories, 45 000 square feet.
  • Largest Adidas Store in the world, New York City being a focus area for the brand.
  • Kiosk with health products & consultants.
  • “Stadium Retail”: Turf & track area for testing before buying, Tunnel entrance and bleachers.
  • MiAdidas Studio (personalisation).
  • Department focusing on NYC specifically.
  • Collaborations all infamous Adidas products are accounted for.
  • VR goggles station available to take one into to the brand.

A noticeable theme and a similarity between the two stores is the Localisation/Personalisation. Both brands want those who live in New York or those visiting New York as tourists to feel apart of the culture that is either Nike or Adidas. New York is a prime place for these brands to set up major stores. Around the world it is seen as a beacon for fashion, teams there have a deep heritage and at the same time the city has a rawness about it which I believe both brands want to convey somehow in their manifestations of the brands (Adidas more so than Nike however I may add). The addition of personalisation stations within the store is a major plus, this bringing the consumer and the brand closer together and further creating the feeling of exclusivity.

Another and of course a major now in everyday life is Technology. Of course not just in what is within the store but what actually makes the products themselves (Adidas: Glitch Boots, Nike: HyperAdapt 1.0). What Nike have is the partnership with Apple hence why I say Nike is less ‘raw’ than Adidas. Apple aesthetically is a very clean and minimalist and this partnership can easily sway people into purchasing Nike products. However, Nike should be careful since technology comes and goes, its gets upgraded, products stop being produced. They have taken a traditional route into luring consumers. The addition of the VR goggles in the Adidas store to further show the physical/digital manifestation of the brand is novel and in times to come I believe further brands will take on this idea.

Thoughts On Both Brands

Adidas may only have half the revenue of Nike but in terms of thinking outside the box and innovating how they brand themselves and sell themselves to the consumer, they’re doing a very good job.

Nike as I mentioned before have to me continually to play ‘safe’ by having traditional channels and relationships with endorsements and sponsorships. But what Nike do very well is creating videos and campaigns that very much hit the nerves, trigger memories and motivate (take a look at their Instagram). They to have history and the relationship with Michael Jordan which in my mind is the strongest relationship between person and brand that is unlike any other. Between 12-14% of Nikes sales are from their Basketball department alone. But what Adidas are doing differently to Nike is Adidas are at the forefront of sport and style, they have gone ahead and brought the worlds of music and sport together. No longer are athletes the main endorsers, Adidas have picked up numerous influencers (and not just any but choosing specific local areas) along the lines of personal trainers, fitness/lifestyle gurus, musicians and models.

Musicians being a big interest for me (and a potential upcoming blog post), since music and sport have always been intertwined. But when it has come to utilising music persons in traditional sport campaigns they have been left on the back burner. Adidas have gone ahead and collaborated with the likes of Snoop Dogg (Adizero 5 star 5.0 x Kevlar), Stormzy and of course Kanye West with the Yeezys. Adidas successfully create a buzz around drop dates and collaborations. Nike on the other hand have kept the ‘purity’ of being solely a sports brand, however I think in time to come this will not be enough to work. Those born later in Gen Y and Millennials are going to be quite the different breed to market to once free from the gatekeepers and Adidas are definitely ahead of the game.





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